Trevor’s Page

The latest from Trevor, Chairman of Dawlish Celebrates Carnival

Tuesday 22nd August

Wow what a week, whilst all the Committee and helpers are exhausted, we are all still buzzing from what has been a really, great, eight days, of Carnival events, despite the weather. 

It has been great fun being part of something this big and watching everyone enjoying themselves, and what has struck me most this year, is the return of people to Carnival from outside of Dawlish and who are already booking their holidays for next year. That for me, is a real sign that we are striking the right balance with the return to a family fun packed week.

You have all supported us so well.  It has been lovely to see families staying on the lawn for the day, enjoying the circus workshops, the new Family Fun Day, along with the more traditional events such as the Pram Race, Knockout and Raft Race. 

The Beach Day, was also a resounding success. The 5k run and Aquathlon were really, well supported, along with sand sculpture and sea swim races, we even had the sun out as well.

The float was brilliantly designed, simple but striking.  As a result, we have received 9 firsts from just seven carnivals.  Some achievement.  A big vote of thanks goes to Sally Stratford for the design and Geoff Wills for his unstinting support in getting us there every week.

You had the opportunity to see the float in our best and longest Parade yet.  I know you have enjoyed the buzz from the variety of floats and performers, finishing back on the lawn with the Glow Show.

The Pinkies, in their now instantly recognisable polo shirts, have been locked up in stocks, enjoyed the swing boats, got wet, had moments of despair but many moments of great laughter and enjoyment.  Always been on hand to answer questions whether by social media or personally.   

It is too this group of people that I would like to offer my sincere thanks.  It has been a real privilege to work alongside such a hardworking and committed group of people. All that you have enjoyed over the Carnival week could not have happened without their involvement, alongside that of our volunteers and helpers. 

I have thanked many people over the last few days, but without the support of the Town Council, particularly our Mayor Councillor Martin Wrigley, who was at many events, either judging, handing out rosettes or on a few occasions even taking part.  Our local businesses, have also been key with a range of sponsorship and a large thank you must go to them as well. 

A thank you should also go to our group of avid supporters on Facebook who have, through their comments, made us realise that all the hard work was worth it with their supportive comments.

Finally, to the people of Dawlish a large thank you.  You made our Carnival week something special, you turned out to support us, you made it something to be very proud of and more importantly something to bring back to you all for next year.

A big Thank You

Trevor Stratford


Thursday 17th August

What a start. Fantastic. We have been so well supported again, by everyone that despite a few showers we have started year 2 with a bang. The feedback on Facebook, from visitors and locals has also been really heartening to know we are pitching Carnival and the various events right.

We are over the Warren this afternoon, with family games and fireworks tonight. If you are not in the area, don’t worry as there are acts and events still on the Lawn in town throughout the day.

Tomorrow is our Parade day and I do hope that everyone can spread the word and come back to the Lawn afterwards for the Glow Show at 10pm on the bandstand. I am sure it will be spectacular.
Saturday is our Beach Day. We normally stop on the final Friday, but this year we are on Dawlish beach. The big events are the 5k run, Aquathlon, (sea swim and run) and children’s sea swim races. Please join us, it is our first time trying this and we would love your support and feedback.

Finally, I would like thank the volunteers and helpers who, as usual, have been marvellous. One group I cannot forget though are my ‘Pinkies’. They have been fantastic, working hard from early morning to late every day. Carnival is now well and truly established through this hardworking group. A lot of us are feeling tired, so if you see a pinkie, give them a well deserved hug! Better still Let’s start, as we head towards the end of Carnival a ‘Hug a Pinkie’ campaign.

Saturday 12th August

Carnival has arrived. Friday was set up day, busy, but great to see it all coming together. There were events and stalls open on the Saturday with the official opening on Sunday the 13th August, so make sure you are there to cheer on the Committee and support our Royal Family who have been the Town’s representatives these last few weeks and won so many prizes we are having trouble finding room to display them on the float.

I wanted to make this a final thank you as well. It is hard sometimes to find the right words that lets you all know the commitment made by a few to put this event on and how well we are supported from across the Town, so a massive THANK YOU to everyone who has been involved, from building the float, taking it to carnivals, preparing the programme, booking events, behind the scenes with logistics, to organising the volunteers and marshals, to pounding the streets trying to raise funds through our sponsors.

So it’s time to enjoy the hard work, be involved, join us in the many events we have organised, be part of Carnival and have a great time.

Don’t forget………”Follow the Fun

Tuesday 8th August 

Last minute preparations for Carnival week are going well and we had our last meeting on Monday night.  It always gets a little fraught at this time, making sure we have covered everything and are ready for what is a really busy week. 

We attended Bovey Tracy Carnival last Saturday and again, won ‘Queen of Queens’ and ‘Best Visiting  Royalty Float.  Amazing stuff and really well supported by the Committee and family who came along to help.  We have a total of 8 cups and a shield from 6 Carnivals all of which can be seen during our own Parade night on Friday the 18th August.  Again congratulations to the Royal Family.

As with all events of this size and scale, it take support. This comes from a variety of sources, from across the Town.  The Town Council have, in so many ways, supported us this year, from our grant, to accessing equipment, gazebos etc.  A huge thank you.  There is also local business, who offer both financial and practical support.  There are so many, most of whom are already named in the programme, but all will be announced against the various, sponsored event.   

Finally the programme is on sale at the various outlets across town and is selling well, along with the online version.  So if you want to “FOLLOW THE FUN” make sure you get your copy.

Wednesday 26th July

Last year, about this time, I was nervous, writing this column, reflecting on the short time scales we had, to put together a carnival for the town and whether it would be a good one. How wrong can you be? It was a resounding success. This year the nerves are different, it’s now about, can we match or go one better than last year!

The programme is back from the printers and in the next few days you will be able to see for yourselves the type of events we have across the week. They will be sold at 7 distribution points and will be listed in our web pages and identified by a poster in the shop windows. Our resident ‘geek’ Angie has, as ever, worked hard to get the programme ‘done and dusted’, out to the printers and back with plenty of time for everyone to buy, peruse and organise what events and competitions take their fancy. It will be another packed week that I know you will all enjoy.

Two events are back by popular demand (as the saying goes), and we are selling tickets for Ceilidh in the Strand Centre, (12th) along with Picnic in the Marquee on the last Saturday, (19th) with the 60’s Explosion band and Rob Hendy a comedy magician. Get in early as I am certain these will go quickly. The Quiz night is also back, this was packed last year with tables of teams even outside the Marquee!!

What has been good, is the involvement of other organisations. Dawlish Tennis Club, providing junior tennis, Target Bowls, played at Dawlish Lawn Bowls Club and Dawlish Warren Nature Reserve, who are kindly providing a Summer Wildlife Trail, along with Dawlish Football Club who are also raising funds for carnival through the annual Rowdy Blackwell Cup. Many thanks to you all. It just goes to show that we don’t have to have the whole carnival centred on the Lawn and that this is as much a community town event as anything else, with other organisations who now want to take part from across Dawlish. I would also like to thank the Shaftsbury Theatre who will be catering for Mas Rampage and who are back with us again this year along with a steel band.

Finally, we do have some new events this year, The Junior Pram Race, Sea Swimming competition for all ages, Aquathon for the more serious competitor, which are just a few. So, come along, be part of the Family Fun Day, get down to the seafront on the last Saturday for the Beach Day, take part, bring your family and friends, chairs, picnic, take part or just watch. This is your carnival, the whole week has something for everyone, young and old alike and I sincerely hope that you will all take part, enjoy the week as it should be enjoyed and make all the work to date worthwhile.

Friday 21st July

The PROGRAMME, is nearly ready HINT, HINT. So don’t forget to get your early copy and look out for the events that you fancy watching or taking part in. I love this part as people start talking about what is on for the week. A mad rush for entries, building Prams and Rafts, getting fancy dress costumes ready or just bringing down a blanket and picnic and enjoying the day on the Lawn. As with all things the weather makes a huge difference, to both the atmosphere and events on the Lawn. There is also a reminder that on Thursday afternoon we are over at Dawlish Warren, with family games and Tug of War, for the afternoon getting ready for the Firework Display in the evening.

Monday 17th July

I forgot to mention a while back that we held a ‘Supporters Evening’ at the Sports Bar in Sandy Lane. Volunteers and sponsors turned up, and we introduced our Royal Family along with our new Pals and Buddies Scheme. I do like a microphone but on this occasion allowed the Committee to take it off me and explain what they were all involved with. Sponsorship is key, without it we just cannot organise Carnival. Sadly this year we are not getting in as much as we did last year, as priorities with business change. Whilst I do recognize this, and appreciate the pressures businesses are under, it does have an impact on what we can do. We are still trying to raise money for Mas Rampage who were a huge success last year, and a real crowd puller. As to our lovely volunteers. There are never enough. So if you fancy getting involved, being part of something special for a few hours during the week, please get in touch with Helen on or through our website and facebook pages.

Friday 14th July

When I get 5 minutes and look back at what we have achieved this year, it’s pretty amazing. We have established a Community Interest Company, a bank account, started fund raising back in February, brought and refurbished a float with new electrics, steelwork, woodwork, axles, and designed, Insurance (boy was that a shock to the system), booked events, sent Judith and Sally out prowling around the Town for sponsorship., written a safety plan and organised the legals required to put on a week long Carnival for the Town. I will say though that without our volunteers and helpers we would not be anywhere near able to put on half of what we do. I think I need a lay down now!!!!!!!

Monday 10th July

Sally and I will be wandering round the town putting up posters for some of the key events.  I like this bit as you get to stop and chat to people.  Although I am forever, being dragged along the Strand as I apparently take too long. This year we are asking for more teams to enter the Senior Pram Race and we are introducing again the Junior Pram Race which stays on the Lawn.  Teams of three and always great events, so start thinking about what they prams will look like.  Full details will be in the programme.  Also for the more hardy of those amongst us I want to promote the Raft Race. I thought it would be a bit of fun to have a ‘Beach Day’, where everything we do will be down on the beach and not on the Lawn.  We have Sand Art, Sea Swimming Races,  Beach Treasure hunt, 5k run, (in fancy dress if you want the extra prize), and new will be the Aquathon.  Adults only, 750metre swim and a 5k run, all finished off with the Raft Race. For the first time in ages we had more rafts last year so let’s top that number and get building. Ian from the Sports Bar in Sandy Lane is organising this event.

7th July 2017

Our resident Geek, Angie has been working hard and putting in late hours in getting the programme ready for printing. Whilst I work up a programme for our meetings the hard work comes when you have to get it ready for Swiftprint. Angie takes her sleeping bag and camps there for a while talking through the artwork, layout and style with Andy. I try and stick my nose in from time to time, but I know that we will have a great programme again this year put together by those that know what they are doing. It’s still £2, twice the size and really good value for money. We will also be doing an on line version again this year for those that prefer to download and work from their phones. The paper version (as I would call it) come out in late July.

5th July 2017 

It’s been a busy few weeks. Despites some initial hiccups around the float we managed to get to our first carnival at Ashburton.  The Royal Family of Angela, Olivia and Janaka amazing. Apart from looking the part they engaged with the judges and crowd for us to win first place for visiting Royalty.  Well done girls. A huge thanks go to Sally who put the whole design together. The house looked like ‘Carnival Central’ the week before with fabric, costumes, glue guns, paints and staples, it was all fitted in one day and will now allow us to enter the remaining carnivals over the summer period.  I must also thank those, particularly Geoff and the hardy few who have always been out there in all weathers refurbishing the float ready for decoration. A BIG thanks to everyone…..

11th June 2017

Chairing the new Committee is almost a full-time job!!! I thought I had retired. In fact, it is something that many don’t realise and that is how much time and effort goes into preparing for carnival week. Logistics, is a mammoth task, undertaken through Geoff and along with organising the Volunteers and Marshals from Helen, including IT, Media and finalisation of the Programme from our resident ‘geek’ Angie, all takes a massive amount of time and effort.

There are so many other things that go on, sponsorship, it’s a daily task for both Judith and Sally, the float for Sophie and behind the scenes there are many others doing work on our behalf.

I spent 3 days this week writing up the Event Safety Plan and Traffic Management, along with applications for various licences. That’s without continuing with booking events and checking we have enough money as we go forward.

That said we couldn’t put on the event without everyone’s support, which was amazing last year. So, I have organised a Supporters Evening at the Dawlish Sports Bar, Sandy Lane, on the 14th June at 7pm, for volunteers, sponsors, event organisers and the Committee to get together.

If you’re interested in being involved this year come along. You will meet our new Royal Family and be at the launch of our Friends of Carnival scheme, along with our new and proposed merchandise.

Don’t forget to tell your friends and family to “Follow the Fun” and visit the web site.

8th June 2017

Well it’s been an exceptionally busy month. The float has had some hiccups in being refurbished and getting it ready for the first Carnival. It has been a worry, and Crocker’s (now Bradfords Building Supplies) has come to our aid and sponsored some materials for us to get the job finished. We just have painting and decoration to deal with now.

The Crowning of the Royal Family went well and you should see form the pics on this website and social media how lovely they all looked. It’s a big commitment for these girls as they go out and represent Dawlish Town at some 18 Carnival events over the summer period.

The Pub Challenge. Well what can I say. Resurrected after some 10 years gap, it was a great. Well attended, every team in fancy dress and a boozy affair. There are some great pics again on our web pages, so go and look at the hilarious fun that ended up at the Royal British Legion for the prize giving.

The programme is coming together. But it costs and unfortunately, we have some sponsors that are not able, for a variety of reasons, to support us in the way they did last year. Whilst this may restrict what we can provide, there are many that continue to provide funds and support in making 2017 a great one.

April 2017

Welcome to our new website, which has been put together by our resident Geek, ‘Angie’. I just know you will enjoy the look and feel of the site, along with the content. It also provides an opportunity to see what we are doing and for you to get back to us with your ideas and thoughts, even your moans and groans.

The aim is to keep a personal diary about Carnival, keeping it light, frequent and not go off on a ‘Trevor Trip’ into whatever interest me at the time, although that could be fun 😊

So, to start with, there has been some speculation and rumour that we are not doing Carnival this year. Well, hopefully, if you are reading this you will realise that’s not the case. We are all alive and kicking and raring to go.

I will say though having been involved with Carnival many years ago, things have changed. Lots of legislation now to wade through (that’s my job), and it all costs money, lots of money. In fact, 2016 cost in the region of £35,000, not including the Red Arrows. Makes your eyes water doesn’t it. There isn’t much which is free anymore. This year we are even having to pick up the costs for road closures, by paying for each individual road cone! When you are trying to organise something, such as an event for the Town, it just feels sometimes, that everyone is working against you.

Last year we were organising Carnival on behalf of the Town Council. This year is different and although this will be our second year of operating, we are starting to pick up unexpected costs. That said we have a Carnival to organise and everyone is totally committed to making it a wonderful week long event.

The principles of last year remain true today, to keep Carnival family friendly, along with the return to a rope arena which all helped, it was really nice to see families sat around the arena everyday watching what was going on. We will however, always try to do things differently. The programme and format of events last year, along with the return of the Red Arrows was different to previous years. This year I would like us to build the Parade Night. Unfortunately, we don’t have the Red Arrows and as spectacular as they are, they cost us around £12,500. That’s a lot of money, half of which was supported by Dawlish Air Show Committee, for a 20 minute display. So, we have decided to put some of the money into building the Parade and put on another event on the lawn afterwards.

The theme this year will be around Masquerade, with a Cirque du Soliel, twist. It would be great if we could get one of the Cirque du Soliel acts, but hey ho, that would be more than the Reds! Now don’t go running around the Town quoting me. The magic word here is ‘around’, the spirit of what they do is something that I would like to build into the Parade. Hence we are booking, magicians, stilt walkers and jugglers. With a spectacular finale, back in the arena afterwards.

It might seem odd that I have started the first Blog of with the Parade which is one of our last events. This is because, this is the hardest part to organise, as we have to find the sponsorship and funds to support these events. At the moment we have Judith, Sally and Ali, our Sponsorship team, out around the Town seeking sponsorship support. Pitch and help where you can.

Keep an eye out for what we are doing through the web site, flyers and posters around the town over the next few months and I will be back soon to provide another update.


March 2017

Over recent months some people have been asking whether we would be organising carnival again this year.

Through this column, I would like to announce that Dawlish Celebrates Carnival is now well and truly established as a committee and is busily preparing for carnival week – August 12 to 19, something we are all looking forward to.

However, having set the wheels in motion, we are working hard to fund the week.

Most of you will be aware that carnival is a costly business these days. There are very few events that are free and alongside this, costs associated with renting a marquee, PA systems, first aid, security, insurance, etc make for an expensive week.  The legal obligations have also increased substantially over the years, along with safety.

Why do I raise these points? Well, while we have a committed group of people willing to make our carnival happen, and are supported by excellent volunteers, it’s a yearlong process, which requires support from everyone in the town to make it all happen.

Which brings me to where we are now.  As a new committee, we have had to register with Companies House, establish a bank account and start fundraising.

We have had an excellent start with the Christmas market, charities bingo and a barn dance at Ashcombe Village Hall.

There are more fundraising events planned over the coming months, including ‘pig racing’ organised by the Dawlish Rotary Club on April 28 at the Manor House and a pub challenge around Dawlish on April 29.

We have a brand-new website being developed which will be available shortly. We already have Facebook and Twitter accounts and our own YouTube channel where you can view video clips from Dawlish Celebrates Carnival 2016.

Our next major piece of work is the float. We have obtained one which has had to be completely stripped down back to the metal frame, checked for roadworthiness and then rebuilt, in preparation for the crowning of the carnival queen in May.

The selection for royalty was advertised in the Gazette last week as we not only need a royal party for our parade and events, but to represent us at other carnivals across south and east Devon. It’s a fabulous opportunity for our local youngsters to become involved in something special and support our town.

The selection will be held at the Shaftesbury Theatre on the Saturday, March 11. Doors open 6.30pm.

There will be entertainment throughout the evening. You can obtain application forms from or email

As for carnival week, the programme is already being worked on and the parade will be bigger and better than last year with a finale and light show on The Lawn afterwards. Albeit very early days.

Dawlish is a great town with a great supportive community. I hope you will all be involved again this year and allow us to keep carnival traditional, family-friendly and funpacked for everyone.

Font Resize