A total of 11 Swanage Carnival volunteers with a collective 365 years of service between them, have been honoured with special long service awards, following a difficult two years.
Due to Covid restrictions, the summer event was cancelled in 2020 and 2021.
This is the first time that the carnival has handed out these special awards, which went to current members who have given more than 25 years of service to acknowledge their fantastic efforts.
Carnival procession along Shore Road
Setback of the last two years
Despite the setback of the last two years, plans are well underway for the carnival to take place in 2022. It’s scheduled for Saturday 30th July to Saturday 6th August 2022.
The president of Swanage Carnival Brian Norman instigated the new long service awards and they were presented by Swanage Carnival chair Maria Foot. She said:
‘I am very proud to have been able to acknowledge the time and dedication these members have given in their voluntary role for Swanage Carnival.’
President of Swanage Carnival Brian Norman presenting awards to Roger Crabb, Tricia Thompson and Andi Byrom.
Swanage Carnival volunteers receiving the awards
The longest serving member Dave Terrett has volunteered for Swanage Carnival for 44 years. A familiar face during the week, he can be heard promoting the popular Scruffs Dog Show over the tannoy.
Dave is responsible for setting up the first infamous carnival bar, with just two tables in the marquee.
Laurence Sprigg has volunteered for carnival for 40 years. He is a former chair of carnival, following in his father’s footsteps who was also a past chairman. Over recent years, he’s overseen the layout, planning and booking of all stalls on Sandpit field.
He also helps to install and maintain all the electrical equipment needed for carnival week. In addition to this Laurence and his wife Linda organise the very popular children’s disco.
Diane Terrett has volunteered for 38 years. Crowned Swanage Carnival queen in 1972, Diane has since committed many hours to the carnival over the years. Diane
volunteers in the carnival caravan and organises the Scruffs Dog Show.
She’s also a stalwart member of the crew that runs bingo nights throughout the year – a carnival commitment that goes beyond the week itself.
Anne Tomes has been a carnival member for 37 years and has been involved in organising some of the largest participation events at Swanage Carnival including the procession, the half marathon, carnival fun run, tennis competitions, the biathlon and the popular carnival swim.
The first event she helped to organise was the popular wheelbarrow race which in the earlier days was much longer and you had to consume a beer and a Dorset Knob at each stop!
Majorettes join in the carnival procession
Biddy Hardy has volunteered for 35 years. In the early years Biddy was part of the team who put the handmade bunting up all around Swanage. For 19 years Biddy was in charge of the carnival queens and princesses and has fond memories of past events such as Miller and Sweep, the sea pillow fights and rescuing the damsel.
She’s the voice of the Scruffs Dog Show judging and also a regular bingo caller and another dedicated member of the bingo crew.
Andi Byrom is also a former chair of carnival and has volunteered for 33 years. Memorably during his time as chair Andi agreed to do a bungy jump if £500 was raised for carnival in one day, thinking the amount would never be reached. However, just a few hours later the target was smashed, and Andi was signed up for a bungy jump!
He led the Carnival Arms bar with his wife Tracy for over a decade and was instrumental in setting up midweek field day and Scruff’s Dog Show, and is also part of the marquee crew who help with putting up the carnival marquee when it’s hired out for events.
Brian Norman is the current president of Swanage Carnival, a former chair for three years and has volunteered a total of 32 years. His years of experience enable him to offer help and support to the committee.
Brian is responsible for introducing a number of new events, including the four mile fun run, the Swanage Bay swim, pitch and putt and gig racing.
Roger Crabb has volunteered for Swanage Carnival for 28 years. Crabby, as he is known to the members, is well known for his antics and good humour during carnival week.
He’s usually seen behind the wheel of a carnival van or pickup collecting and delivering equipment around Swanage for events. He’s also a member of the cone crew, who set out hours before the sun rises on carnival Sunday putting in place the road closures for the procession.
Biddy Hardy, Laurence Sprigg, Marcus Lamber, Anne Tomes, Brian Norman and Dave Terrett with Swanage Carnival chair Maria Foot who presented the awards.
Marcus Lambert has been a member of carnival for 27 years. Many will remember the banger bashing event at the back of the Red Lion, an event that was organised by Marcus. It was also his idea to create the money collection drainpipe that reaches across pavements and up to windows during the firework and procession collections.
Marcus has also always helped with lifting and shifting the hundreds of bits of carnival equipment needed during the week.
Keith Dixon has volunteered for Swanage Carnival for 26 years. Although not resident in Swanage, Keith spends an entire week here every year running the busy office alongside our treasurer Mandy McDonald.
Whether it’s counting coins from collection buckets or arranging floats for the various stalls or events, Keith is key to the smooth running of this side of carnival. He might consider it a holiday, but we do know and appreciate how much hard work it involves.
Tricia Thompson has been a member of carnival for 25 years. Tricia joined Swanage Carnival when she first moved to Swanage as a way to meet people. She remembers highs and lows of carnival from the air show that was not the success anticipated, to the huge event the week has become.
Tricia will say that she just helps in the background, but in reality she is a prominent member who helps with the kid’s go-kart grand prix, organises the darts competition, helps coordinate the carnival procession, is part of the bingo crew and also one of the welfare officers.
In some years, the town has enjoyed air displays by the Red Arrows
Long tradition of the carnival in Swanage
Swanage Carnival dates back more than 200 years and is one of the few remaining traditional carnivals on the South Coast. It’s self-funded and organised by volunteers.
The carnival committee said:
“Whereas in some towns large events are funded through local authorities or a corporate sponsor this is not the case in Swanage.
“We rely on generous donations from a number of local businesses and individuals to sponsor our more than 100 events. For this reason, the community is at the heart of Swanage Carnival and our thanks go to everyone who has supported us over the years.”
More about how to support Swanage Carnival is on its website