Will the Army be at Cromer carnival?

The RAF will be at Cromer carnival, like this stand last year, but will the other armed services? PH

The RAF will be at Cromer carnival, like this stand last year, but will the other armed services? PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC

Cromer Carnival could be left without most of its long-standing array of military stands this year.

Organisers announced the blow in the programme for the 44th carnival, which has just been published, but hoped to compensate with alternative attractions.

Now, with just four weeks to go until the big event, the Ministry of Defence has given a ray of hope that the military might be marching back to the carnival field after all.

Army, Navy and RAF careers advisers have been a fixture on the Tuesday and Wednesday for more than 30 years – drawing crowds of children who enjoy climbing on the military vehicles and posing for photos with the soldiers.

But when carnival committee member Peter Burrows contacted the Norwich Army Careers Office at Christmas, he was told they did not have any facilities available. He was advised to contact the Territorial Army in Aylsham Road, Norwich, where an officer told him they also did not have the resources to attend.

However, an MoD spokesman told the News yesterday: 'No decision has been taken on attendance at the Cromer Carnival this year. The reason is not financial, we are currently approaching a mix of regular and reserve units to attend and a decision will be taken nearer the time.'

Carnival chairman Tony Shipp said the RAF had made an application and its careers stand was expected at the event. However, the committee had understood the Royal Navy stand, together with six or seven Army stands, would not be among this year's attractions.

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Mr Shipp was surprised at the MoD's statement as he said the committee had definitely been given the impression no-one could make it, which had been 'disappointing' particularly as it came in the same year that the Red Arrows were not able to come.

'It would be great if any of them were in a position to turn up but we would like to know as soon as possible - the spaces are filling up - although we would always make room for them somewhere,' he added.

'Although they didn't directly recruit, I know several local youngsters who enjoyed visiting the stands and subsequently joined one of the armed forces.

'There's still an awful lot happening and we will endeavour to make it another Cromer Carnival to remember,' he added.

In March, the North Norfolk News reported that one of the biggest carnival attractions, the Red Arrows aerobatic team, would not be coming on Carnival Day this year because of other commitments.

But the committee moved quickly to give visitors two for the price of one, with Blades Aerobatic Display team and Wildcat Aerobatics signing up instead.

This year's programme includes a blend of regular and some new attractions – including a family wrestling night in the carnival marquee on Sunday, August 18.

For the latest news about the Cromer Carnival programme, visit www.cromercarnival.co.uk