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The History of Shepton Mallet Carnival
 

The origins of Shepton Mallet’s carnival are some what unique. It all began because the town needed a community centre. In the early 1960s the Shepton Mallet Community Association was inaugurated to raise funds for the project.Organisations from across the town and surrounding villages pulled together and it was agreed that bringing carnival to Shepton Mallet was one way to draw in much needed funds. A Carnival committee was set up in 1965 and carnival came to Shepton Mallet.

1965 First Carnival Committee

Back left to right : Harold Mead, Bob Kerslake, ?, ?, Ron Oatley, ?, Cyril Amor, ?, E. G. Allen, ? Charlie Usher, Doris Hyatt, Alfie Connock, Vera Connock. Front left to right: ?, Lionel Edwards, Maura Kerslake, Arthur Showering, Theo Showering, Harold Trimnell.

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First carnival Queen

1965 Ralph Trippick, Lionel Edwards, Arthur Showering, Rita (Carnival Queen), Charlie Denning.

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Over the following decades, thousands of pounds have been raised for local charities, unfortunately donations to the community centre fund were stopped when it was realised that for various reasons the centre would not be set up.Mr Bob Kerslake and Mrs Maura Kerslake were amongst the founder members with Mr Lionel Edwards as chairman an office he held for thirty years this he handed over to Don Clifford who remains as chairman at the present time.

In the years that followed, from 1965 the sponsorship raised by the carnival queens and princesses has done much to cover the running costs, with street collections making up the balance to cover costs and make donations yearly to local clubs and charities.

Over the years the carnival grew and in 1978 there were a record 151 entries. It was at this stage that the decision was made to no longer plough money into the community centre fund, there still being no visible progress on that project. In fact Shepton Mallet 30 years later still does not have a community hall.

1978 saw the first appearance of the Bambi Carnival Club taking it’s name from the icon associated with Babysham a sparking drink produced locally by Showering. Another new entry the Fielders Carnival Club joined the carnival also that year, they were a spin off from the Crown Inn,With their entry “Terror of Orthoptera”.

In 1982 Fielders returned after a years break, and along with Bambi were the only local mounted entries, Frome’s Chameleon Carnival Club took the honours with “England Expects”.

Sadly by 1985, although the procession that year was one of the most spectacular, there was not a single local float, all local entries being on foot. Part of the problem lay with local difficulties, the Fielders Carnival Club were experiencing in respect of their building ground. The following year they managed to bounce back and Bambi were to join them. In 1987 Fielders appeared in new clothing as the Shambles Carnival Club, with “Martial Arts of the Orient” and remain excellent ambassadors for Shepton Mallet as a carnival town, and highly respected on the Somerset County circuit as a leading tableau carnival club

1987 Martial Arts of the Orient, Shambles CC

Martial Arts of the Orient

 

1967 Our Carnival Queen Caroline Lamber, 17-years-old of Croscombe right and her two attendants, Shirley Harris on the left and Christine Denning (Christine Puddy), centre both of Shepton Mallet.

Martial Arts of the Orient

Martial Arts of the Orient

Martial Arts Of the Orient

Martial Arts of the Orient

Martial Arts of the Orient

Martial Arts of the Orient

Martial Arts of the Orient

Martial Arts of the Orient