words By NICK HUDSON
Nuneaton Carnival is ready to gatecrash the Queen’s 60-years on the throne – with its own ‘golden’ celebration this summer.
For arguably the town’s biggest charity event of the last century – which originally started out as a hospital fund-raiser in The Great Depression of 1930 – is marking its 50th parade and gala of the modern era on Sunday, June 10.
The carnival, which was revived in 1963 after failing to command a yearly spectacle following the end of World War Two, will share the ‘jubilee’ limelight in the same week that the country toasts Queen Elizabeth’s mammoth devotion to her subjects.
Millions of Britons will celebrate the diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth – the second longest-reigning monarch after Queen Victoria – at special events running from Saturday, June 2 until Tuesday, June 5. To accommodate the royal’s celebration, our late May bank holiday weekend has been moved into June.
At high water in the afternoon of Sunday, June 3, up to 1,000 boats will muster on the River Thames in preparation for Her Majesty to lead the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant.
The following day, thousands of beacons will be lit around the world to commemorate the 60-year reign – with Nuneaton’s own Mount Judd joining in the UK tribute light show.
The Queen and other members of the royal family will attend a national Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral on the Tuesday.
Then at the end of the momentous week, thousands of North Warwickshire folk can party all over again as Nuneaton’s beauty pageant queen and her maids parade through the streets of the town – in the time-honoured tradition.
“It’s wonderful to be celebrating with Her Majesty. We’re golden – but she is a real diamond,” said carnival committee chairman Robin Thomas, who has chalked up his 10th year as head of the event in a total of 30 years associated with the charitable organisation.
“We have managed 50 queens since our first revived event in 1963 – but we must remind The Queen that the first carnival queen crowning for Nuneaton dates back 82 years to 1930.
“One thing’s for sure, it’s an opportunity for everyone to carry on partying.”
The first revived carnival in 1963 was held in a week-long celebration which began with the crowning of 18-year-old Madeline Brown, from Gipsy Lane, Nuneaton, on Monday, May 13 – and ended with the procession and gala on Saturday, May 19.
“It would be nice if we get Madeleine to contact us – and take part in the procession this year,” said carnival queen manager Petrina Davies – herself a maid of honour in the 1972 event.