Generous donations by a leading investor in the Skegness leisure scene and a circus performer who wants to say ‘thank you’ has kick-started the vital funds needed to save the resort’s annual carnival.
Concern was raised about the future of the event, which has entertained crowds for 70 years, ahead of this year’s Carnival Week procession.
Paul Dixon, chairman of the team of volunteers, told the Skegness Standard: “Normally at this stage we have enough funds to enable next year’s event to happen, but this time we haven’t.
“Changes in legislation mean carnivals are very expensive to put on, with road closures and security to pay for. We desperately need more donations and volunteers, especially to help with tasks such as putting up stalls and dismantling them.”
However, the committee has now received generous donations from Brian Bell – the new owner of Grand Central as well as a number of other businesses, including Lucky Strike, along the coast – and Mr Fipps Wonder Circus.
Mr Bell has donated £1,000 to the fund and said: “The carnival has been going for about 70 years and we have a float in the parade.
“We were shocked to hear it might not happen next year. It would be a massive shame for the town and so we are pledging £1,000 to kick-start things in the hope others will follow. It’s important this keeps going.”
Also planning a big donation is Jan Erij Brenner of Mr Fipps Wonder Circus. He said: “We are now staying an extra week and we have 500 limited seats for this Saturday evening’s performance going on sale for £3, with all proceeds going to the carnival fund.”
The circus has been coming to Skegness for five years and is planning a 10-week season next year.
Mr Brenner said: “With the extra week, we’ve done nine this year. Skegness has always been good to us and we love coming. We had a float in the carnival and always do, so we wanted to support it. We hope it will go on and with support of other people I’m sure it will.”
Mr Dixon said: “It’s fantastic that the town is getting behind us. We’ve also heard from the Hildreds Centre who are supporting us at Halloween and Tesco has said it will help us.
“We’ve had great feedback about this year’s parade. People are telling us they don’t want to lose the carnival. The support and donations are encouraging for the volunteers who work so hard.”