Carnival: only three weeks to go

Lino print, “May Day” by Ben Sands, signed artist’s proof, 1987, available to buy this weekend


Christopher James Stone

It’s just over three weeks to go to the Carnival, so you’ll excuse me if my next few columns are all about the same subject. It’s all I can think about right now.

The pressure is mounting. There’s a tonne of work to do and not much time.

We have 3,000 programmes to sell. We have to arrange medical cover. We have to organise volunteers for the day. We still don’t have a marching band. Neither the fire service, nor the lifeboats have confirmed if they are coming, and we have no idea of how many floats we will have on the day.

So many things crowding in on my inner landscape, vying for attention, it would be easy to forget some crucial detail.

For example, in the programme we’ve listed all the businesses and people who’ve helped us. I always knew I would forget someone, and I was right. It wasn’t until I went into Sundae Sundae to buy an ice cream that I remembered that they are sponsoring our Carnival King, Maurice, by giving us freebies on the day.

So it’s a belated thanks to Sundae Sundae for all that you are doing for us. If I’ve forgotten anyone else, please let me know.

Our next big event is this weekend, Saturday 13th July, at St Peter’s Hall on Cromwell Road, where we’re holding a cabaret, raffle and auction. Our auctioneer will be my friend, Julie Wassmer, aided by her beautiful assistant Graeme Bosley.

Everyone knows how shy and self-effacing Julie is, so please come along to offer moral support.

We have some wondrous things to sell, including a signed artist’s proof of a Ben Sands lino print, donated by his son Mat, and framed by Whitstable Framing. Also a Ben Dickson lino print and signed copies of two photography books by Vanessa Winship, who last year had a major exhibition at the Barbican.

Other items include a book of photographs by Gerry Atkinson, with an introduction by yours truly; a miniature copy of The Great Wave by Rocky van de Benderskum; a collage by Sadie Hennessy; signed copies of all six of the Whitstable Pearl mysteries by Julie Wassmer; and the complete works of CJ Stone, tied up with a shoelace as worn by CJ when he was a postman.

It’s the shoelace that’s the collector’s item.

Obviously all of this is worth money, but don’t worry if you are less well off: there will be a raffle too, with lots of smaller items to be won. Music will be by Steve Russell with poetry by Rik Collier and Pete Bingley amongst others.

Entry is by ticket only, £3 per seat for a table of eight (maximum), or come along – we’ll find room for you. Tables are going fast so please contact us at our email address to buy yours:

The same applies if you are in a marching band, if you would like to volunteer for the day, if you can help us sell programmes, or if you would like join the parade.

My realisation about Carnival is that it belongs to no one, and to everyone at the same time. You don’t have to be special to take part. You don’t have to be clever. You don’t have to be brave. You don’t have to be rich. You don’t have to be educated. You just have to be you.

Carnival welcomes everyone: Saturday August 3rd 5.30-7.30 starting on Tankerton Road.



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From The Whitstable Gazette 11/07/19

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