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A CARNIVAL CART FIT FOR A QUEEN

Monday 16th May, 2022

It is now just under three weeks before Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival’s ‘Jubilation’ entry takes part in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant in London on Sunday 5 June.

Work on the cart is progressing well, and nearly 200 carnivalites from many different carnival clubs are involved with the prestigious project. The 100ft long cart has been designed to reflect various regal elements of the monarchy, including the royal crest, crowns, royal carriages, Yeoman of the Guard, etc, with additional links to the commonwealth. It contains over 40 engineered moving parts and 18 spectacularly crafted models.

The Platinum Jubilee Pageant will tell the story of The Queen’s 70-year reign, and as part of Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival’s entry there will be 32 dancing costumed performers on the cart with a further 110 dancing in the street in front of the entry. The dance parade at the front of the entry representing street parties – a feature of previous jubilee and royal celebrations in towns and cities throughout the UK. With just over one month to go to the big day, dance rehearsals are well underway in the Somerset town for those carnivalites taking part.

As this is such a unique, once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of Jubilee celebrations, members of the Bridgwater Photographic Society (https://bwps.org.uk/) have been recording Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival’s involvement for posterity over the past few months. The local group of photography enthusiasts have been and will continue to take pictures of each stage of the build process, from design right through to the end of the pageant itself.

For some of the local carnivalites taking part in the jubilee pageant parade, the occasion will bring on some extra personal significance.

Sue Duddridge from Newmarket Carnival Club is one of the cast members who will be dancing in front of Bridgwater Carnival’s entry on the day. She was very keen to get involved as a tribute to her father, Dave Hodge, who had the honour of marching in the Queen’s coronation back in 1953. It is very much a family affair because Sue’s daughter, Christie Sidebottom is also involved with Bridgwater Carnival’s pageant entry.

Another two carnivalites who will have an extra reason to celebrate over the Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend are Alex Evans and Gemma Lewis of Renegades Carnival Club. The couple are getting married on the Friday before the pageant parade, and this will be third time lucky for the pair after their wedding got cancelled twice because of COVID restrictions. Just 48 hours after tying the knot, the bride and groom will be part of the Bridgwater Carnival entry, in front of Her Majesty the Queen and the watching world.

Dave Stokes, Publicity Director for Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival, said: “We are so very excited to be constructing an entry for the Queen’s Jubilee Pageant, and the cart being built will reflect the style and expertise which have become the hallmarks of Bridgwater Carnival processions.

“This is a massive team effort and the reward will be seeing a Bridgwater Carnival cart, in all its glory, parading before a royal audience and being witnessed by millions around the world.”

“This is great publicity for the town of Bridgwater, Bridgwater Carnival itself, and every illuminated carnival in Somerset, and all of the carnivalites involved are very proud of what they are doing and have a very unique story to tell.”

After the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee pageant, Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival organisers are planning to display the cart in Bridgwater Town Centre on Sunday 12 June. This will enable members of the public to see the spectacular entry close up. More details will be released nearer the time.

And spectators at Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival on Saturday 5 November 2022 and the other six Somerset County Guy Fawkes Carnivals (Highbridge and Burnham on Sea, Weston Super Mare, North Petherton, Shepton Mallet, Wells and Glastonbury) will also have the chance to see the cart in its full glory. Bridgwater based, Griffens Carnival Club, will be taking the cart out on the road during the November illuminated carnivals, and will be providing the cast and road crew.

Christine Reynolds, Secretary of Griffens Carnival Club, said: “It is a massive honour and privilege given to our club by the Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival Committee to be able to take such a prestigious ready-made cart to the seven carnivals in November, and we are all really looking forward to it. We can then start to look ahead to building our 2023 entry, and continuing the proud tradition of Griffens Carnival Club.”

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