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BLANDFORD’S Carnival parade was notable this year for the number of new entries from emerging groups in the town, including the recently formed Blandford War On Waste, winners of the Arthur Adams Challenge Shield, the trophy for Best Endeavour, and Public Vote, who went underwater with two jellyfish, Tritan, a mermaid queen and princesses, Spinal Tap, and a squid driving the support vehicle, with costumes hand-made by Liz Leech.

The Blandford Fibromyalgia Chronic Pain & Fatigue Peer Support Group won the John Jones Challenge Cup on their mobility scooters, many of which were supplied by the Disability Action Group

The new Blandford GP Practice staff, Sara Stringer, Rosemary Oliver-Bugler, Emily Hurst and Kayleigh Rosewarne, helped as collectors and won the class for playgroups, clubs and associations, and Teddy 20, runners up in the youth and schools class, presented Teddy Rocks.

No less than eight steam engines, including one brought by its owner from Yorkshire, headed the parade this year, resulting in a magnificent show of power, with horns tooting, which was well received by the waiting crowds.

They more than made up for the absence of the local Magnum Carnival Club float which was unable to take part due to circumstances beyond the club’s control.

By the time the steam parade reached the town centre, the hundreds lining the street had to wait a good ten minutes before the ominous drumming of Samba Panache heralded the arrival of the following civic party and Carnival Royals, the floats, bands and majorettes.

Blandford Performing Arts and Theatre Academy were awash with chimney sweeps and nannies in their representation of Mary Poppins, which won the Lil Jones Memorial Cup, best local entry and best overall for the Town Crier Trophy

Morrisons, winners of the trade Carnival Challenge Cup in which the runners up were Hall & Woodhouse with their ‘Badger’ vehicles, were ‘Giving Back to the Community’ with boxes of chocolates for children watching the parade

Blandford Rugby Club presented Rugby Around the World to win the overall walker trolley award, and another underwater themed Aquatic Adventure from Free Expression Arts Festival was third in the youth or schools class, in which Blandford Youth Football was highly commended.

Deanna and Geoff Spencer – the Dee Gees Carnival Club from Shaftesbury – presented Four Heads to win the walking Carnival Club class

The Dorset Youth March Band were judged the best of the youth bands, and Castle Cary Cygnets best of the majorettes.

The 2019 Blandford Carnival Baby Show, once again sponsored by Ragtags in the Corn Exchange, was well supported with a total 21 entries. The winners of each age group were 0-6 mths Elijah Lysons, 6-12 mths Lanson Crane, 12-18 mths Harriet Kevern and 18-24 mths Woody Ferry, and Lanson was chosen as the overall winner to receive a trophy and Ragtags voucher presented by Carnival Granny Jackie Vacher.

The winners of the popular Spot the oddity winners were first Kaitlyn Pittwood, second Fergus Cook and third Isla Goddard.

The Carnival was this year able to make donations amounting to a record in recent years, including £150 to Blandford Youth Football towards a defibrillator, £100 each to the Stour Valley Band, the Performing Arts Theatre Academy towards their new studio, and Milldown CE Academy towards a visit by the Life Education Bus, a food donation to the Blandford Food Bank and a craft donation to the Fibromyalgia Group.

Carnival secretary Sara Jones said: “We’d like to say thanks to all the sponsors, entries, volunteers and members of public for making this year’s carnival such a success.”

The Carnival committee were delighted to receive many favourable comments on how much the event had improved over the last few years, and particularly thanked Blandford’s Firefighters for giving up their spare time to put up the flags and bunting, and the marshalls without whom it would be impossible to stage the event.

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The Blandford Fibromyalgia Chronic Pain & Fatigue Peer Support Group

Blandford GP Practice staff, left to right Sara Stringer, Rosemary Oliver-Bugler, Emily Hurst and Kayleigh Rosewarne