Plea for volunteers to help safeguard future of Stornoway Carnival

Marching through the packed streets was the Sail Stornoway procession. SGD24238.
Marching through the packed streets was the Sail Stornoway procession. SGD24238.

A PUBLIC meeting will be held next Thursday in an attempt to find people willing to organise the Stornoway Carnival and save the much loved event.

The Carnival, one of the summer highlights in the town, has been run by the Stornoway and District Round Table, raising funds for local causes and bringing people to the Town Centre. But this year the group are looking to hand it over.

Community Groups, businesses, sport organisations and individuals are now being urged to attend the meeting and help secure the future of the Carnival.

In a statement from the Round Table it is stated: “The Round Table has over the years, with the help and support of a number of people, raised money for local good causes by undertaking the organisation and running of the Carnival.

“However, we are currently looking to hand this over to another group or committee to take forward.”

It added: “We would strongly encourage community groups, businesses, sports organisations and any individual who would like to safeguard the future of the Carnival to come along to this meeting.”

The Stornoway Amenity Trust, which is chaired by Cllr Charlie Nicolson, has offered to help set up a new group to take over the event and to “try and secure the future of the Carnival in the years to come”.

Cllr Nicolson explained: “We would wish, as the Amenity Trust, that the carnival is still part of the Stornoway social calendar. It brings the community together – hopefully people will show up to the meeting.”

He continued: “The Carnival day is one of the busiest weekends of the year and it would be a shame not to have the Carnival this year for the community and for businesses and the town.”

The first Carnival took place in Stornoway in 1937, to help raise funds for the Lewis Hospital. The event was held again in 1939 and 1952 before it was reestablished in 1962 in aid of the Lewis Swimming Pool Fund. Since then it has continued to draw crowds with the float parade and stalls.

The Fair has also proved popular with islanders - but last year this was cut short after the council voted to limit use of North and South Beach car park.

However a report due before the Comhairle in June will reconsider the decision and discuss using the car parks for events lasting more than one day, taking into to consideration the views of local business.

Cllr Nicolson said: “We await the report, but we would hope that an agreement would be made to allow the Fair to come up a couple of times a year, both at Christmas and for the Carnival.”

A public meeting to establish a new group to run the Carnival is being organised by the Stornoway and District Round Table in conjunction with the Stornoway Amenity Trust. It will be held at 7pm on May 23rd in Committee Room 3 at the Comhairle, Sandwick Road, Stornoway.