Two special Skegness youngsters with individual challenges, who were rocketed into the spotlight by becoming Carnival Royalty, are showing anything is possible by launching a new anti-bullying campaign.
In true carnival tradition, Carnival Queen Cailey-Ann Calladine Dilks and Carnival King Spencer Dorn were presented with their official crowns and sash in a ceremony on stage in the Tower Gardens, marking the start of the town’s new Summer Festival.
The role has been the dream of many girls and boys over the years but this time the criteria for entering was judged on merit - such as overcoming a difficulty, or doing something positive for the community. The reason was the new ‘royalty’ had an important mission - spreading the word that ‘Bullying - it’s not OK’.
Cailey-Ann, 13, has ADHD and says she does not let it define who she is, and Spencer, aged nine, has Achondroplasia, which is a form of dwarfism.
Gary Starr, chairman of the Carnival Committee, said the judges felt Cailey-Ann and Spencer would be perfect to front the anti-bullying campaign. He said: “Cailey had already entered the competition several years ago but sadly was not chosen. After seeing the new criteria this year, she re-entered and is now our new Queen. Living proof that all good things come to those who wait.”
Cailey, 13, said: “I have ADHD but I manage it and don’t let it define who I am. I have been bullied throughout school, but now I want to help overcome this and be there for others. I’ve seen my mum be very poorly as she’s disabled, so I do my best to help her out. I feel I will represent Skegness Carnival for the year by showing that I am good person and it doesn’t matter who are, you can achieve the things you want to achieve in life with a positive attitude, and a kind heart.”
Spencer, aged nine, is a local celebrity in his own right as he appears at Mr Fips Wonder Circus as Tom Thumb and is part of the Embassy Theatre Academy and the Neverland Theatre Performers.
He said: “I have Achondroplasia which is a form of dwarfism. I have overcome many hurdles in my life but the main one is I was told I wasn’t going to walk till I was five years old at least. But I achieved this at the age of two-and-a-half.
“I’m so honoured to be this year’s Carnival King and will do my best to help promote Skegness, the Carnival and the new anti-bullying campaign.”
The new campaign created by Gary Starr and James Howsam, and co-ordinated by Ruth Brennan, will help draw attention to the problems faced in today’s society, especially online and on social media.
James has already started work on a new website which will provide links to help and support networks and is creating a new logo which has been designed by Cailey-Ann herself. Gary will provide full support, creating a brand-new mascot and help facilitate the entire project, whilst Ruth will be responsible for overseeing the busy schedule for the forthcoming year.
Gary said: “Some of the ideas which we have invited Spencer and Cailey-Ann to have input in, are to hold special awareness days, create a safe chat space where people can talk to others and ask for advice. There are also plans to visit schools to help spread the word, ‘Bullying, it’s not OK’.
“We’ll also be joining forces with the Hildreds and other local businesses to create events to battle isolation and loneliness and a safe place you talk and get advice on these issues.”
If you wish the Skegness Carnival Royalty to attend your event, please visit the website http://skegnesscarnival.com/royalty and fill in the online application form.