Stalybridge in carnival spirit

A CLASH with England’s World Cup game against Panama didn’t appear to affect the turnout for Stalybridge Carnival.

Large crowds assembled, especially in Armentieres Square, as the parade snaked its way through the town centre.

And spectators at one stage heard an almighty roar from a nearby bar to mark another of England’s six goals.

Afterwards events centred on Cheetham Park where there were stalls, children’s funfair rides and other attractions and entertainments.

And in total it was estimated more than 4,000 people attended the events of the festival weekend that began on Saturday with a canal boat gathering, NSPCC family fun day at the Civic Hall and children’s funfair rides.

The two days of activities were organised by the festival committee in tandem with Stalybridge Town Team and the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.

It was the dawn of a new era following the sudden death in December of carnival organising secretary Nigel Hobson, 54, who succeeded his father David who died in 2014.


The Hobson family, with 42 years’ involvement after reviving it in 1976, had already handed over to a new committee, though Joyce and sons Andrew and Philip helped ensure the transition went smoothly.

It was an emotional day for the family, especially when Joyce was handed a lifetime achievement award by new carnival committee chair Graham Fitton and invited to become the carnival’s honorary president and patron.

And Funtasia, the local nursery, before-and-after school, were inaugural winners of the Nigel Hobson Award for the best junior organisation. They also had the best float in the parade.

The one disappointment was the failure to attract any entrants to become carnival queen, though Gracie Cheetham was petal queen.

Ian Cochrane, the new organising secretary, estimated there were more people lining the route than normal and the turnout in the park was impressive.

“It was a good start for us and we saw no need to make changes for an event that has been run well for so many years,” he said.

The new festival committee comprises chair Graham Fitton, organising secretary Ian Cochrane, Cllrs Jan Jackson and Dave Sweeton, Steph Fitton, Derrick Evans, Roy Pickersgill, Martin Dalglish, Eric Lowery and Brendan Lomas.

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