WELLINGTON has a ‘duty to the country’ to maintain the carnival, says one hopeful town councillor.

It was announced earlier this month that the annual event would not be taking place this year after nobody came forward to organise it.

The carnival committee’s outgoing chairman held an emergency meeting to try and find someone to take over as she was forced to give up the role due to other commitments.

But hope remains for following years, as it’s thought this year’s procession may have been forced to cease due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Town and county councillor, John Thorne, said: “As a former carnival committee member and as a father of a former carnival princess, I think it is really disappointing that the carnival cannot be held this year due to not having anybody to lead the organisation of it.

“I believe the annual street fair in June which raises the funds to pay for the carnival to be put on has been cancelled because of the coronavirus crisis, so it was unlikely to happen this year anyway.

“I appreciate how fewer and fewer people these days are able to devote the huge amount of time and effort needed to build the carnival floats which grace the procession, which has led to it becoming much smaller than those I recall as I grew up in Wellington.”

But all hope is not lost, as there are rumblings of another group of community-minded people coming forward to run more town events, such as the carnival, as well as new ideas such as a Christmas market.

READ MORE: Wellington Carnival will NOT take place this year 

Cllr Thorne added: “Hopefully, this may not be the end of our carnival, but a pause for reflection which will allow it to come back in much stronger shape next year.

“It would be very sad if the carnival was not able to be revived, not just because of the brilliant spectacle which draws several thousands of people into the town centre, but also because of Wellington’s direct link to the creation of Britain’s carnival movement.

“I am not sure how many people know that carnivals sprung up 400 years ago from the tradition of holding bonfires and processions to celebrate King James I escaping the Guy Fawkes gunpowder plot.

“The judge who presided over the trial and sentencing to death of Guy Fawkes was Wellington resident Sir John Popham, who at the time was Lord Chief Justice, head of the country’s judiciary.

“So, we have something of a duty, if at all possible, to maintain carnival in Wellington for the sake of the country’s history.”

Cllr Thorne said he will be discussing with other town councillors when the coronavirus crisis is over to hopefully bring a solution forward.

Mayor of Wellington, cllr Janet Lloyd said it was ‘disappointing’ no one had come forward to run this year’s event, but understands it is a big commitment to take on.

She remains hopeful a solution can be found - even if that includes charging a fee or joining a different circuit.

“People have given it your all over the years,” she said.

“In light of what is happening now, they have had to cancel the street fair, which normally supports the carnival, so would there have been a carnival this year anyway.

“Having been to Torres Vedras Carnival, even though it’s a totally different kettle of fish, they do charge, it’s six euros for the day. I know it’s always been said the carnival is free entertainment for the evening, but whether people would pay I don’t know.

“It’s a big commitment. We’ve lived here for 30 years and we have seen it change.

“Health and safety issues aside, in the olden days you had big employers and pubs building floats. People were given time to go off and build the float, whereas over the last 30 years businesses haven’t been able to do that.”