It's a record breaker! More than £11,000 was raised when thousands of visitors poured into Edlesborough on Saturday to make St Mary's Carnival the....
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Thousands enjoy record carnival

Posted on July 10, 2007

It's a record breaker! More than £11,000 was raised when thousands of visitors poured into Edlesborough on Saturday to make St Mary's Carnival the most successful in its history.

This article was published in July 2007. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Jolly masks on one of the floats. Picture by DAVID LANGFIELD.Worm charming, belly-dancing, rock climbing and a dog show were just some of the attractions that drew families from all over the region.

Carnival chairman, Peter Bennett, said: "It was phenomenal. There were thousands of people, a record both in terms of how much we raised and the number of visitors.

"We had never seen anything like it. The tea tent ran out of cakes, the stalls emptied, even the tombola. We had to send out for more raffle tickets because of the number we were selling.

"It was wonderful weather - for a change - and we had some new attractions like the Mont Blanc climbing wall that proved a firm favourite. There was a huge queue for it.

"People just didn't want to go home but by the end of the day there was nothing left for them to spend their money on."

This year's theme was favourite adverts and the winners of the Best Dressed House competition, sponsored by the LBO, was 130 High Street, Eaton Bray (Typhoo Tea) and 66 Moor End, Edlesborough. Each home-owner received a cut glass rose bowl.

Carnival day started with local resident and Three Counties Radio host, Stephen Rhodes, judging the floats, before the procession was led off by carnival queen Melissa Sibley, princess Bethan Roberts and attendants Katie Neal and Emma Baldwin.

The carnival began life in the 1960s as the church fete, held in the grounds of Eaton Bray vicarage. In 1965 it moved to nearby Park Farm and, in the 80s, to School Lane, in the village, before making the transition to the more open space of Edlesborough Green.

Since 1995 the event has raised more than £114,500 for local good causes and charities. The last four carnivals alone have produced £10,000 each year clear profit to hand over to help local groups and organisations as well as aid the upkeep of St Mary's Church, Eaton Bray.

And the fund-raising isn't over yet. The villages' annual duck race takes place this Saturday on the River Ouzel between Edlesborough and Eaton Bray.

Carnival press officer, Katrina Grant said: "We would like to thank everyone in our local community who has worked so hard to make it a such a success. Thanks to all our sponsors, the helpers and stall-holders on the day, entertainers, community police, local councils and the public who supported the procession and came to the green to help raise such a magnificent amount of money."

To complement the carnival the new landlords of village pub, the Bell, hosted a pig roast for visitors.

Landlady Alex Maddern said afterwards: "We've only been open six weeks and we were delighted that so many people turned up. We'd like to thank everyone for their support. We've had nothing but positive comments since we opened."

The winner of the Pre School/Lower School category in the float competition was awarded a new trophy in memory of Norah Coates, who was a much loved member of the community and served as a churchwarden at St Mary's Church, Eaton Bray.

Procession of Floats:

  • Pre-school and lower school category: 1st Eaton Bray Pre School playgroup; 2nd Eaton Bray Lower School; 3rd Edlesborough Under 5s.
  • School-age organisations category : 1st Eaton Bray and Edlesborough Cubs; 2nd Friends of Edlesborough School.
  • Family and business category: 1st Janes' Store, Edlesborough; 2nd The Bell Public House, Edlesborough; 3rd the Hawkes Family.

The winner of the Clarabelle the cow's performance in the arena was Mrs S Evans who won £110.

First prize in the grand draw, a weekend for two, at a top hotel in Rome, went to Mr M Bennett.

For more information and pictures about the carnival visit

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 10 July 2007

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