Derek Beer Leaves Shaftesbury Carnival After Five Decades Of Service

Shaftesbury Carnival’s AGM packed the Town Hall on Monday night. Alfred’s Matt and Steve Appleby spoke with former chairman Derek Beer, who bows out after 39 years. And they heard how carnival funds the lifeline Car Link service.

“It’s now set up and running for the 21st century. There’s a really good and vibrant committee and they don’t need something like me with my last century ideas holding them back,” smiled Derek Beer, with typical modesty.

”I started off with the Chamber of Trade in 1980 and I was Carnival representative. I used to look after the Carnival window dressing. It evolved from there. When I joined the Town Council, because I was on the Carnival committee, I became the Town Council’s Carnival representative. When I retired from the Town Council in 2011, I still carried on. Carnival is a great tradition. It’s part of the history of the town. We have to make sure it carries on for the future,” said Derek.

Shaftesbury Carnival committee’s AGM

The immediate future will be, partly, in Rich Mullins hands. He served for two years as co-chairman with Derek. “We want to evolve the Carnival with the times. We are trying to keep Carnival current. That’s really important,” he said.

Rich offers the example of the new Carnival logo. The club’s logistics manager Toby Whiteford chose the catchy design, which was launched last year. It features multicoloured flags. Rich says Tony picked that style because it captured the event’s spirit. “On Carnival week, the bunting goes up and we know it’s carnival,” said Rich.

The Carnival committee supports beneficiaries in the SP7 postcode area. Groups that agree to assist the Carnival during the year are considered for donations. June Hull received £1,000 for Shaftesbury Car Link, that provides vital transport services for isolated local residents. “We had a stand at the Classic Car Show. The week before (Carnival) we collected raffle prizes and we spent week upon week polishing cups.” June said.

She and her husband Martin took over Car Link fourteen months ago. “It was for hospital trips only. They were doing up to fifty trips a month. We did a big marketing campaign because we wanted to help as many people as possible. We are now hitting 300 trips a month – many of those are medical trips. Some are short trips to the dentist and the odd hairdresser’s appointment. It stops people being isolated in these little villages when you can’t just get out and about,” said Jane.

Some of the Carnival grants will be spelt on hi-viz jackets for drivers. The volunteers are undertaking Alzheimer’s awareness training, too. Kipling Carnival Club also received cash support. It’s been a good year for its members. They were crowned Wessex Champions of the 2019 season.

Verity Appleby is the secretary. She says the £1,000 donation will ‘go into club funds. The insurances are an absolute fortune, so it’ll be set aside to pay the public liability this year’.

Kipling Club member Nicci Judd was elected vice-chair of Shaftesbury Carnival.  “It’ll be good fun. You share ideas and get other people to help you,” said Nicci.

The Shaftesbury Carnival committee is now looking for good causes to fund in 2020. If you want to be considered for cash and you are prepared to help the Carnival in respect of the donation, contact the Carnival committee on their Facebook page.