Town’s carnival parade returns

CARNIVAL time is returning to Bognor Regis.

A traditional street procession is being planned for June 7.

A three-man committee has started organising the community occasion to give the town its first daytime parade for two years.

They have been given £6,000 by the previous organiser, Bognor Regis Town Council, to get them started.

Initial entries have already come in. Three of the eight groups are expected to have floats, with the others walking, in a return to the old-style occasion.

Secretary Mark Marsh said: “We have a meeting with the police on April 13, to go through the details, but we want to have the start at West Park at 2pm and the procession going along the seafront and through the town centre.

“I would like the parade to stop outside the Regis Centre and the first, second and third in the categories to be given their certificates, if not their trophies, so the spectators on the rest of the parade will know how they’ve done.

“They will then go back to West Park as they have done in the past.”

One of the groups committed to taking part is Bognor Regis Swimming Club. Sarah Boote-Cook, who chairs the club, welcomed the carnival’s revival.

“Every resident of the town is invited to the party. The town is lacking a sense of community,” she said. “There are so many parts of the community and they all come together at things like the carnival.

“The swimming club is 50 years old this year and we want to join in as I know we did back in the ‘60s and ‘70s. It’s the start of a new era for us.”

The carnival committee, which also comprises chairman Stuart Capelin and treasurer Alan McTernan, was formed last month to take over from the town council.

The council decided against continuing with the carnival it had taken on in 2009 after Bognor Regis Lions Club ended the event in 2005. Last year’s parade was replaced by a series of static displays in the town centre.

But the new committee is determined to stage a parade which used to see thousands lining the streets. However, Mr McTernan said more help was needed.

“We need more committee members because we can’t do it all on our own. We will also need some 25-30 marshals on the day.

“We are holding the carnival on June 7 because of the need to avoid clashing with other events and so Town Force will be available to give us their assistance,” he said.

The initial plans include attractions in the town centre - like zumba and children’s entertainers - from 10am and a fun fair at West Park.

A public meeting about the carnival will be held soon to enable residents to find out more.

More details from bognorregiscarnival@outlook.com or Bognor Carnival Association on Facebook.