About our Carnival
For over a 148 years Shaftesbury Carnival has brought a variety of colour and light to the high street for one day a year. The Carnival has heritage surrounding the hospital and we celebrate the Carnival with a week of events. These range from bingo to money miles.
Carnival day sees the children's procession in the afternoon where over 250 children dress up and walk the smaller route and once the sun drops, we see the grand illuminated parade. This sees the streets filled with over 50 entries from walkers to 100 foot carts (floats).
Entirely run by volunteers, Shaftesbury Carnival has been growing year on year, raising thousands annually for local charities.
Meet the Team!
It really does take an army!
Shaftesbury Carnival would not take place without the veritable army of supporters, from the marshalls who keep everything running smoothly and safely on the day itself, to the committee who work throughout the year to organise all the events and fund raising. Please get in touch if you wish to be part of this wonderful team.
Winners of Best Wessex Carnival 2022.
People that made Shaftesbury Carnival what it is today...
Ray & Chris Humprhies
Over the past years, touching three centuries, the people of Shaftesbury and surrounding villages and towns have been treated to a fantastic show most years,( Covid spoiled the “ every year “ ) when the carnival has come to town.
Obviously not happening by magic, a hard working and loyal band of people, the carnival committee, have worked with hundreds of local people each year, to put on a carnival that brings enjoyment to thousands, and in the process raises useful funds for deserving local organisations and groups.
This fundraising is supported by events put on throughout the year, again put on by that hardworking committee, who give willing of their time and expertise to make things happen.
Two people who devoted most of their lives to Shaftesbury Carnival were Ray and Christina Humphries, known throughout the South and South West as Mr and Mrs Shaftesbury Carnival.
They held almost every role over their lives to the carnival, and indeed many other groups and organisations in the town, leading by example, sharing their amazing and vast skills in thing as diverse as building floats, marching in the band, putting up lights, being carnival queen ( Chris) although Ray was very well known for showing of his legs when collecting money in all manner of weird and wonderful things.
I have often shared the information that on carnival day Ray would change clothes at least five times, overalls for putting out the signage, posh suit to launch the children’s procession in the afternoon, band uniform for taking part in the parade, fancy dress for collecting, posh suit for the awards in the evening, and overalls again for closing it all down.
Chris would organise the entrants and the procession, organising the required formalities, trophies, working together with Ray as a team to make everything happen.
I have just scratched the surface here with the work that they both put in, it was phenomenal.
When they both came to the painful decision to hand over the reigns no one could begrudge them that, but the knowledge and experience they had could not be lost.
Accordingly, the carnival committee asked them if they would accept the position of patrons, firstly as a thank you, and secondly, when the group that had the hard task of taking over from them needed encouragement and advice, they knew that Ray and Chris would be there to help and point in the right direction.
Sadly, as is well known, in 2020 Ray, after a long illness passed away, leaving a great legacy, fond memories, and a community and family feeling a great loss.
Chris remains a patron, supported by her family who still willingly and traditionally give their time to carnival throughout the year, and indeed to many other Shaftesbury groups and organisations.
The serving Carnival Committee can feel comfortable in that if they need support, the patrons will be there for them
Many of you know Derek as “the man from the peel” but for those who don’t know Derek is involved in many community organisations, standing alongside and supporting them.
Derek has been a part of the carnival committee for over 30 years alongside his good friends Ray and Chris for almost all of this time. Dereks’s ability to recruit and fundraise meant that even though he couldn’t part take in the carnival day he would work tirelessly behind the scenes.
Each year Derek would take it upon himself to tirelessly seek to collect sponsorship for the day totalling over £3000 each year, a feat in its self whilst working (more than) full time and as a councillor.
A Carnival tradition after each meeting was for few to pop to the local establishment (Ship Inn) to make sure the final points were always ironed out, personally this was the time friends bonded and came together to celebrate the success of many a good meeting and decisions made.
Derek was critical in recent years when Ray Humpries MBE and Chris Humpries took the hard decision to stand down as chair (a role he held for 45 years) Derek rallied the troops and gathered friends to take up the challenge of running the carnival. I will never forget the that night we all gathered in the meeting room at the Social club. The turnout was so great we ran out space and chairs! That just shows you the support for Ray and Derek was present.
Derek worked hard as the chair to set up an all new committee with new young leadership and help, Rich Mullins joined with Derek in 2017 to become joint chair to show Rich the ropes and guide Rich to status of Chairman.
Derek stood down as Chairman in 2019 and was formally invited to become a Patron, Derek to this day is still involved on the committee and helps where he can.
Without Shaftesbury Stalwarts like Derek this event would have slipped away like so many others. We hold upmost gratitude for all he has done and continues to do for us.
Rich Mullins - Chairman