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Sisters take over running of Newmarket carnival

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Newmarket Carnival Parade 2016 Carnival princess Lois Lee Grimwood centre with her attendants Picture Mark Westley
Newmarket Carnival Parade 2016 Carnival princess Lois Lee Grimwood centre with her attendants Picture Mark Westley

Newmarket Town Council will not be running the town’s annual carnival this year.

Instead, in a major change of policy, the authority has handed over responsibility for the event, which this year is on Saturday, July 8, to two sisters who impressed councillors with their organisation of a fundraising fun day in the town last summer.

Tracy Williams and her sister Julie organised their first event in June on The Severals and raised just under £2,000 for the Alzheimer’s Society because their mother, Ann, was suffering with the disease.

Mrs Williams, who was 64, died on Christmas Eve and her daughters will be holding another fun day in her memory on June 3.

“We wanted to make it an annual event so we had a meeting with the council and they said ‘yes’,” said Tracy. “Not long after that we got a call from the council asking us if we would like to run the carnival and we said ‘yes’. We will be using The Severals and we have got a budget which will be used to pay for road closures and the councillors said that any money we make we can donate to the Alzheimer’s Society.

“It is a challenge but if we had not been confident we could do it we would not have agreed. It has been a very steep learning curve but all the attractions for The Severals are pretty much sorted and we are now concentrating on the parade.

“We know there was a bit of controversy over the float judging last year but this year will be very different and we really need the community’s support to enter floats and get behind the event to make it a day to remember.”

For a number of years the carnival was organised by the council but there was criticism from some councillors around how much it was costing to stage compared with how little it was raising for good causes.

This year the council will be giving a grant of £5,000 towards the cost of the event as well as allowing the use of The Severals.

The council will also lend administrative support.

This year’s carnival theme is cycling and one of the attractions will be a pop-up street velodrome which will be on The Severals for three days giving locals a chance to try their hand at track cycling.

Newmarket mayor Cllr Andy Drummond said: “ I was very impressed with Tracy’s event last year which made money for Alzheimers charity, and, other than the absence of floats, it had a very similar feel to our carnival. We will of course have floats and the road closure and the velodrome event. So expect a better than ever carnival under the stewardship of Tracy and her sister.”

The Journal will be launching the Carnival Princess competition in May and anyone who would like to enter a float in the parade can email Tracy at newmarketcarnival17@yahoo.co.uk