It rained, it rained hard and it rained for most of the afternoon. However, the weather failed to dampen the spirits of the Braintree people who turned out in their thousands to cheer the floats through the town centre.
The day started in confusion as the floats lined up along Station Approach for the first ever time. This was after over thirty years of starting at Lakes Road. The wet weather added to the confusion and an air of despondency overshadowed proceedings as the procession set off slightly late.
Spirits lifted as they reached the town centre. There to greet them was one of the best turnouts ever. Thousands of people cheered and wave the 30 floats despite the decidedly chilly damp conditions. To highlight the level of support, the Street Collection was nearly 20% up on the previous year at just over £1300. This was good news for the St. Lawrence Surgery in Bocking who would be the prime beneficiary from the years proceeds.
The procession continued its way to Meadowside where the afternoon of free entertainment had already begun. However, there were some disappointments for the carnival-goers who braved the elements despite some of the worst efforts of the British weather. The top attraction Heir of Insanity were unable to perform for safety reasons. The same went for the Medieval Combat Society and the Wrestling. The marching bands however played on and the live rock group Exhale played through the evening.
A big thank you goes out to all the people of Braintree who helped with and supported the event and ensured a tremendous show despite the weather.
1.00 Floats form at Lakes Road
2.00 Judging of Floats
2.00 Sideshows Open at Meadowside
2.30 Procession leaves Lakes Road
3.30 Procession arrives at Meadowside
4.00 Grand Opening by Carnival Queen
4.00 District Scout & Guide Band
4.15 Heir of Insanity
4.50 King Edward VI School Corps of Drums
5.05 Medieval Combat Society
5.45 Braintree Dimensions
6.05 Heir of Insanity
6.40 The Suffolk Royals
8.00 This Years Group - Exhale
9.00 Grand Draw
9.15 Group Exhale
10.30 Good Night
The Round Up
Yo-Yo Workshop and Magic Show
Medieval Music Group
1. D.J. Buston
2. Stapleton's Tyre & Exhaust Centre
1. M&M's Sweet Shop
2. M&M's Sweet Shop
Voluntary Organisations (under 30ft)
1. Bocking St. Peters Girl Guides
2. Lancaster Way Christian Fellowship
Voluntary Organisations (over 30ft)
1. Cressing Primary School
2. Braintree Mini Rugby Club
3. St. Michael's Church
Commercial & Industrial Firms
1. Braintree Leisure Centre
2. John Benson School of Motoring
Dancing Schools and Playgroups
1. Whitecourt School of Dance
Any other Public Houses, Action or Street Groups, Individuals
1. Chesnut Grove
2. Bocking End Congregational Church
3. Braintree & Bocking Musical Society
Riding Schools, Pony Clubs, Harness Horses
1. Mr. & Mrs. Dedman
1. Braintree Mini Rugby Club
Windows Display Competition
1. Second To None
When I was picked to be Braintree & Bocking Carnival Queen I was so surprised, I did
not think I would be picked as the other girls looked so nice. When I was crowned
it was a lovely sunny day, I felt very special in my new dress made especially for
me by Pat. The two princesses, Jemma and Kayleigh also had lovely dresses made for
them, they were very excited. I did feel silly having to blow a very load horn to
start the fun run. That was my first job as Queen.
I have really enjoyed my year as princess and I wish I could do it again. Thank you
to Robert, Lynn, Deborah, Tom and Veronica for looking after us and Pat for making
our lovely dresses. I hope this years princesses enjoy it as much as I did.
I would like to thank Pat, Robert and everyone else for looking after me so well
throughout the year. I also want to thank Pat for making our beautiful dresses and
making me look like a real princess. I liked going to all the carnivals and fetes
and I hope the next carnival queen and princesses will enjoy themselves as much as
Despite the weather, the Carnival celebrated another record breaking year
with the street collection up an amazing 20% at £1,300.
This allowed £1,500 to be used to purchase an E.C.G. machine for St. Lawrence
Surgery in Bocking End, Braintree. Some 16,000 patients are registered at the
This is a machine that traces changes in electrical potential generated by the contractions of the heart. An E.C.G. is a basic diagnostic indicator that tells the doctor about the condition of the heart. The patient is wired to the machine and a recording is traced on a paper, the wave patterns reveal any damage the heart may have suffered or certain abnormalities that may require further investigations.
This recording can be performed at the surgery or in the patients home if necessary.
Heart disease is still Britain's biggest killer, an E.C.G. recording can show signs of heart disease and other heart disorders. Early diagnosis enables patients to receive treatment at an early stage, which in turn can save lives.
Hilda Franklin, a nursing sister at the surgery, said "It's brilliant. We wrote to carnival organisers last Summer asking if they would be interested in raising money for an E.C.G. machine and now they have".
A further £800 was distributed to other worthy causes.
Note: Another programme article from last years carnival virgin.
Two carnivals and suddenly she starts writing about tradition. - Ed
Hard to believe it's a whole year since the last Carnival. It seems like only
yesterday I was helping to take down the lights, packing up the stalls, saying my
goodbyes and working on my piece for this year's programme. Actually, that was only
Since then I have a new job and a new car. The Carnival has a new stall and Captain
and Mrs. Fun have a new baby and presumably, a new overdraft. Next year of course
will be not just a new year but a new millennium. There may be another new stall
you might even have a new currency to spend on it. Yet despite all this newness
(is that really a word?) what will actually have changed? The sun will still rise,
the rain will still fall, Carol Voorderman will still be on every other TV programme.
The French, as usual have an apt and stylish way of putting this: "Plus ça change, plus ça la meme chose". The more things change, the more they stay the same. OK, so as far as logical statements go it's right up there with "what goes around comes around" and "self cleaning ovens", but it is a neat way of saying tradition has a way of keeping up with the times.
Here at the Carnival field we have a few traditions of our own. The traditional panic that one of the stalls has a bit missing, a traditional lack of power tools and my personal tradition of sloping off to the pub just in time to avoid assembling 'Striker'. I must I like having a bit of tradition in my life. It is sort of comforting to know that whatever else changes I know where I will be and what I will be doing at the beginning of June each year. Who knows, the Carnival will probably outlive us all and remain a tradition well into the next millennium. I certainly hope so.
Talking of which, I just have time to tell you my plans for the millennium itself.
After years in the catering industry watching everyone else having a good time I am
going to do something completely new. I'll be back here plugging in the lights,
putting up the stalls, panicing about the missing bits, sloping off to the pub and
loving every minute of it. Plus ca change . . .
Have a great carnival and see you on New Years Eve.
Note: The following article is my 1999 effort for the programme.
As you may notice, it has nothing to do with the Carnival but it got published
Now some of my regular readers out there will no doubt remember last year's
article relating to shopping. No? Oh, and I thought you had all been sat there
desperately awaiting to read about how it was the sight of an Easter Egg that finally
broke me. Ok so the article was more of a mindless rant and was almost completely
irrelevant to the Carnival and I had no intention of continuing it this year.
'Plenty of time to come up with an article' I thought in exactly the same over
optimistic way I do every year. I knew the fact that we were expecting our first
child (born last September) would not be a problem. I would use it to help focus
the mind and concentrate more. No longer would I leave things to the last minute.
So here is the follow up to last year's article and completed only two weeks after
the 'last final, don't you dare miss it' deadline.
The story started back in September of 97 as the little darlings returned back to
school after their six-week hell-idays. Within hours, Christmas decorations appeared
in the shops. Don't believe me, well look for yourself this year. We may be just
approaching Summer, but mark my words, within three months of reading this, the
shops will be rapidly filling with tinsel and gift wrap. The full marketing might
of the retail world all get together to convince us that the true meaning of Christmas
involves eating, drinking and buying each other gift-wrapped tat.
Please don't misunderstand me though; I actually like Christmas including all the
paraphernalia that goes with it these days. I just think it should all be banned
until after Guy Fawkes night.
Whilst on the subject, what's happening the Halloween and Guy Fawkes? Halloween
becomes increasingly Americanized. Oh how I look forward to a night traipsing
around after little Billy and his chums in the cold and the rain dressed as a Ghoul.
How long before we are all sending each other 'Happy Bonfire Night' cards or do some
of you already?
As Christmas approaches, the shelves of card shops become increasingly filled with
pictures of the big man in red, snowmen, robins and cute fluffy animals giving each
other gifts. Don't whatever you do, happen to be born in December or early January.
At this time of year there is only room for about four Birthday cards in each shop.
Anyway, just prior to the Christmas rush, shops start announcing their 'worst sales
figures in living memory' and all the sales start early. Obviously they wait until
the end of January to announce record sales.
Eventually Christmas arrives. Now, am I wrong or did it all seam so easy in the
past. We all got over excited, Father C. turned up as planned, we all ate and drank
too much, fell out with the rest of the family, remembering why we only see them at
Christmas and had a desperately rotten time. It was great.
Shops opened from 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. Monday to Saturday and we all managed to buy
too much. Some supermarkets now open 24hrs - 7 days a week which equates to a
massive 117 extra shopping hours or nearly 14 'old shopping days' extra per week.
How come then I still have to queue at the checkout?
Boxing Day arrives and nestled snugly amongst the plethora of 'January Sales' adverts
(remember most of these sales have now been running for a couple of weeks) appear
the Holiday programmes where more rich celebs' spout on about places they have been
paid to stay at. However, the worst is yet to come.
Just as you sit down to watch another twenty-year-old Bond movie, it appears, the
years first Cadbury's Creme Egg advert. A few days later as Crimbo decorations are
being desperately dumped at half price to avoid having to hang on to the stock until
September when they can be sold again, Easter Eggs appear on the shelves. Now, can
anybody tell me just how organised you have to be to buy an egg four months early?
Be honest now, how many of you out there have tried this? Then having finally cracked
under the pressure of the 'Seven week spinach diet' eaten the lot. You then had to
run out and replace them before your partner realises what you have done.
Anyway, must finish now as the Little One has decided it's time he some had attention
paid to him. So until next year... Happy Easter.
Note: Billy lives in Leeds but was unfortunate enough to be born as
a member of the Braintree & Bocking Carnival Committee Northern Division (also known
as F.U.N. - From Up North). He was only 9 months old when he encountered his first
Carnival. This is his story in his own words.
Something's up. She Mummy's been sorting out clothes all morning. Last time she did
this I got strapped into the Go Sleepy Bye-Bye Machine (car ed.) for hours. Don't
fancy the idea especially as I feel a bit poorly. My milk was sitting a bit heavy
on my tummy so I threw up. I knew I was right when He Mummy came home early. It's
exhausting work being sick so I fell asleep. BIG mistake.
Next thing I know I'm waking up and we're in the middle of a big green thing called
the Carnvul Field. There's some people I've played with before but it was ages ago.
It's nice and sunny and I'm allowed to crawl around a bit. I eat some of the green
stuff as there's so much of it. Must remember not to try that again as it tastes
We're in a strange house and I'm a bit unsure. I'm still trying to get to grips with
these walking thingies on the end of my legs. Mine don't seem to work properly.
Fell over whilst trying them out again and landed on my head. I was very upset and
threw up again. Got He Mummy to put me to bed to try and sleep it off.
Had a great sleep. Checked that both Mummys' were still there a couple of times.
They were in a big Cot right next to me but it didn't have any side bits. Why don't
they fall out? I do! Tummy still not right though. Ooops, my tummy just hurled a
whole bottle of milk halfway across the bedroom.
We're off to see The Docta. At last, he'll understand, nice grey haired old chap
with glasses and a hairy nose. He'll soon talk some sense into them and tell them
I'm not well and to take me home. It's not him. It's an imposter. He's not the Docta.
This one is a grey haired old chap with glasses and a hairy nose, nothing like the
real Docta. Worse still he tells them I'm fine. Avoid too much food and take plenty
Spent the Morning Time shopping with She Mummy and a Great Auntie who was also staying
in our house last night.
We go back to the Carnvul Field and I help She Mummy paint in the After Din Dins
Time. This is a bit more like it. How was I supposed to know that the cup of tea
wasn't the paint pot? It's all the same to me. I eat some of the green stuff as
there's so much of it. Must remember not to try that again as it tastes horrible.
Try some Weetbix this morning but still no happy tummy and I'm sick again. Great
Auntie is still here and washes all my clothes again. I blame these Southern cows
and their funny milk.
When we go back to the Carnvul Field I decide I only feel ok when I'm with He Mummy
so I let him carry me around most of the day. I had a kip for a while and when I
woke up he Mummy's was lost again. Gently called for him at the top of my voice and
he ran all the way from the other side of the Carnvul Field.
He Mummy went on the Bumpy Cars with all his friends in the After Din Dins Time. I
sit and look after She Mummy cos it looks scary. I eat some of the green stuff as
there's so much of it. Must remember not to try that again as it tastes horrible.
No wonder the milk tastes funny down here if this is what the cows have to eat.
Felt much better this evening and we went back to the Carnvul Field for a 'Barb Que'.
This was Uncle Ringo Dog (David Ed.) setting light to lumps of meat and He and She
Mummy's friends were drinking juice out of cans, talking loudly and saying 'aw' to
me a lot. Very Strange.
Woke up feeling much better but stuck to juice and toast for breakfast as I didn't
want to chance it, not on Carnvul Day.
Oh dear, she Mummy's got a poorly bot-bot (He Mummy's words not mine). He Mummy
disappears for a while and comes back with some Poorly Bot-Bot Feel Better drink.
She Mummy drinks some and goes 'Urrrrrrgh' and I learn some more new words.
He Mummy takes me back to the Carnvul Field. This is not as green as before, as there
are more wooden things, tents and big trucks. I decide to let He Mummy carry me
around so he doesn't get lost again. We all hide from the Rain Monster for a while
but it doesn't come, probably scared off by all the wet stuff falling from the sky.
He Mummy runs around more than ever shouting at people.
Went back to see She Mummy at Dinner Yum Yum Time and she is feeling better and has
got out of bed. We all have some Dinner Yum Yum before going back to the Carnvul
The wet stuff has stopped falling from the sky and lots of people I've never seen
before come to see me. Lot's of Mummy's friends are there standing at the wooden
things that He Mummy and all his friends have built. It's all very strange but they
seem happy enough.
Everyone talks about the Rain Monster but luckily it's scared away again by the wet
stuff. A lot of the people are scared away as well big wussy girls blouses. Call this
wet stuff; it's nothing like what we get up in Leeds. Pity really that so many people
left, as we were having such a good time. Mummys' friends all stay huddled around
the wooden things holding Umbellas.
It starts to get dark and He Mummy let's his friends take down the wooden things.
Silly as it took such a long time to put them up.
It's a lovely sunny day. I tell He Mummy that he should have left everything there
and had his Carnvul today, but I don't think he understood.
Went to see some of Mummys' friends. They are all very sleepy but I help keep them
awake. This is fun. Carnvul AGAIN, AGAIN.
Note: He Mummy (who now says he's a Daddy) says I gotta say sorry for my use of
Grandma and spellins. What does he expect I is only one and a bit?