Community campaign out to save Ilkeston carnival for future generations

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Ilkeston residents are appealing for volunteers to help save the town’s annual carnival after its longtime organisers decided to step down.

The Ilkeston Lions previously announced that this year’s event—ultimately cancelled due to bad weather—would be their last, as the club’s dwindling membership made organising the event unfeasible.

But the Lions always hoped they could pass the baton on to a new generation and a Facebook group launched last week proves there is plenty of interest in the idea.

Andy Golds, who started the group with his wife Annie Golds and longtime carnival organiser Milla Rigby, said: “We’ve been going to the carnival for years and have taken our two young children to the last few. It would be a great shame if the town were to lose the event.

“It’s a great day when the whole community can come together. There is so much community spirit that could be used to ensure the carnival keeps going for years to come so the next generation can enjoy the same things we have.”

More than 600 people signed up to the Save Ilkeston Carnival group within 48 hours of its launch but the challenge will be turning that into active commitment.

Andy said: “We are inviting people to a public meeting on July 31 to talk about all the work that needs doing, and set up a proper committee structure for a Friends of Ilkeston Carnival group.

“We will need a large number of volunteers to run it successfully, whether in the run up or on the day itself, and we hope to get as many local businesses on board as possible.”

The event has been beset by problems several times in recent years due to bad weather and logistical problems, but Andy is confident that a trouble-free future is possible.

He said: “We’ve been asking people what they would like to see from the carnival in 2020. At this stage, all options are on the table.”

“One thing that has been mentioned a lot is bringing back the parade of floats through the town, so we will look at the rules and regulations for that, and some other popular activities like a tug of war and a dog show.”

“We’re also considering alternative dates and venues, as I understand the Recreation Ground has limited availability during the cricket season.”

The public meeting is being held at the Church Of Nazarene, on Corporation Road, starting at 6pm on Wednesday, July 31.

To join the Facebook group, go to