NOSTALGIA: 1989’s Best of Britain in Bognor Regis carnival

11 year old Benjamin and fellow members of the Aldiwck and Pagham Scout Group enjoy the carnival
11 year old Benjamin and fellow members of the Aldiwck and Pagham Scout Group enjoy the carnival

The 1989 Bognor Regis carnival set a precedent for today’s exciting summer events in the town.

A mixture of floats and fireworks turned Bognor Regis carnival into a kaleidoscope of colour in July 1989. About 40 floats and bands took part in the procession as it paraded through the town centre, watched by hundreds of people enjoying the sunshine. In the evening, another large crowd packed the West End Car Park for a spectacular display, despite an earlier downpour.

Clowns on parade during the carnival procession

Clowns on parade during the carnival procession

The festivities looked like it was getting off to a bad start when the calypso steel band Tropical Islanders were late arriving for their lunch-time performance in the London Road shopping precinct. However, when they did start, the five-man outfit soon had shoppers thinking they were in the Carbinnean as they played their rhythms under a clear blue sky as temperatures rose. Drummer Philip Reynolds said the band had been delayed by traffic jams during its five and a half hour journey from Birmingham

The band also led the carnival procession with carnival queen Trudi Simms, and her princesses, Samantha Higgins and Julie Rowlands.

The year’s carnival theme was inventive Britain and the floats depicted a variety of the industrial, social and sporting ideas which were invented by British people. Sportsmen, Scouts, miners and revellers toasting the British pub filled many of the floats which reflected the enthusiasm and energy which local groups had spent on them. Among the inventions celebrated were a giant crane and boxes built from the Meccano construction toy for Arun Roller Skating Club: the RNLI rescuing a distressed sailor by the Bognor Sea Cadets from the T.S. Sir Alec Rose, and a futuristic health emporium, offering brain transplants, from the Friends and Staff of Bognor War Memorial Hospital.

The judges decided both the best overall float award and the best interpretation of the carnival theme was merited by Arun Roller Skating Club. The 11th Bognor Scouts were runners-up in the overall category for showing St George and the Dragon and staff from Elizabeth House were second in the theme interpretation section with Ladies Day at Ascot.

Downview School PTA members  as the cards from Alice in Wonderland

Downview School PTA members as the cards from Alice in Wonderland

Downview County Primary School won the best junior float, for showing characters from Alice in Wonderland, with Aldwick Cubs and Scouts second.

The non-trade category was won by the Gingerbread Group, as a group of miners with the Davy lamp, with Bognor Lions Club second. The Links Gateway Club, the Eclipse Disco, and the Felpham Colts Football Club, also took part.

Musical entertainment was also provided by the Astralettes, who clinched the walking band award, the Littlehampton Drum and Trumpet Corps, who were runners-up, and bands from T.S. Implacable and Triumph.

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Happy faces on these youngsters as they watch the procession route

Happy faces on these youngsters as they watch the procession route

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