This week's looking back includes carnival stories, school fun, pond developments and more.

Gas leak halts carnival fun

THOUSANDS of people lined the streets for Taunton Carnival in 2010, despite a 40-minute delay in the start due to a gas leak.

Emergency services were called to investigate the situation and shut off the source of the leak.

Carnival secretary John Lewis said: “Safety of performers and spectators is the most important issue.

“The multi-agency Silver Control, which includes us as event organisers, felt it was better to keep all the entries at the start until we knew how serious the situation was.

“I’m sorry this kept everyone waiting for longer than usual but hope they all enjoyed the spectacle when it reached them.”

On the night, Ilminster carnival clubs walked away with plenty of silverware – Harlequin CC won the feature class, the ‘best lorry build up’ cup and the float with best costumes for Geppetto’s Workshop, while Gemini won the tableau class with Colosseum.

Successful local entries included Over the Rainbow, by New Beginnings, Rag Time, by Dave Arney, and Circus Delight by Blackbrook Guides.

Somerset County Gazette:

Pupil Maisie is headteacher for the day

LOOK who’s in trouble. Wellsprings Primary School headteacher Neal Chislett gets a finger wagging from pupil Maisie Huggins after mucking up her maths book.

Mr Chislett and Maisie swapped places for the day in 2000 as part of the school’s 50th birthday celebrations.

Maisie introduced former head Ken Piper to pupils and staff at assembly, walked round to check on various classes during the day - and even had squash and biscuits in the staff room.

Meanwhile Mr Chislett struggled through lessons with her classmates.

“I really enjoyed the day, although it was frustrating having to keep stopping for break and lunch,” said Mr Chislett.

“Maisie found it interesting being headteacher for the day, although she felt there wasn’t enough for her to do!”

Somerset County Gazette:

School residential trips in trouble thanks to budget cuts

IN a classroom in a Taunton town-centre school in 1990, teacher Sue Adams was having a quiet chat with a sevenyear-old about to spend his first night away from home.

The boy was set to join a group from Holway County Junior School setting off next month for a two-day trip to Charterhouse, one of Somerset’s outdoor residential education centres.

But staff at the school, which caters for seven to 11-year-olds, feared the trip may be one of the last undertaken.

Swingeing £4.6 million budget cuts agreed in principle at a county education committee last week include the sell-off of Charterhouse and the ending of any financial commitments to Somerset’s other outdoor centres.

“These residential trips are so valuable,” said Sue.

“They help us to see all sides of the children and enable us to build working relationships.

“We couldn’t possibly achieve that without the residential experience - but if these centres are to be privatised and have to become self-financing, I don’t see how we would be able to use them.”

Somerset County Gazette:

Park pond set to fix problem

A LITTLE imagination on the part of local council members and officials was set to not only solve a potential hazard to life and limb from a crumbling culvert it was also set to provide Taunton with a valuable new amenity.

The 200-year-old culvert through which the Sherford Stream meanders in the Hammet’s Walk area of Taunton was found to be in a dangerous state early in 1980.

The Deane Council’s technical services officer, Mr Donald Levell hit upon another idea.

Why not divert the stream and fill in the culvert and create a nice, ornamental pond?

So, Taunton was looking forward to a development at Wilton Lands in 1980.

Somerset County Gazette:

'I didn't think we'd get out' says blaze mum

A YOUNG mum and her two children were rescued by firefighters after a suspected arson attack on their home in 2010.

Amy Templeman, son McKenzie, 20 months, and daughter Miley, ten months, were trapped in their upstairs flat in Charles Crescent, Taunton, by the fire.

Firefighters used a ladder to pluck McKenzie to safety from a window and then broke down a door before leading Miss Templeman,19, and Miley to safety.

“I came out of the bathroom and the smoke alarm was beeping,” said Miss Templeman.

“It seems someone pushed lit paper through the letterbox. I could only get halfway down the stairs because of the smoke.”