The Spirit of Malmesbury Carnival

Malmesbury Carnival Procession is one of those events that almost everyone comes home for, whether they still live locally or have moved to far flung places.  The Carnival itself is a veritable smorgasbord of events from dessert tasting to dancing taking place over the late summer, leading up to this, the fabulous procession through the town.

Growing up in Malmesbury, it was always something to look forward to; a chance to let your hair down and mingle with the crowd, see all your friends and, most importantly, throw loose change at people. This may sound a little weird to those not in the know, but the everyone on the floats carry buckets and baskets and the idea is to collect as much money from the crowd as possible, which is then donated to local charities, clubs and societies in need of funds. Which is great – except if you’re in the procession it does rather increase the risk of coin-related bruising…

Anyway, as part of The 4014 Project, I’ve been dressing up and taking part in the procession for the last 4 years or so. We’ve done floats in the past, but this year we decided to enter in the walking category. Our theme was Not Eilmer (A Celebration of Malmesbury Events), detailing significant events from the town’s long and chequered past. Eilmer was a monk who decided that he’d worked out the secret of flight, built himself some wings and jumped off the top of Malmesbury Abbey – surprisingly, he survived with only broken legs after flying approximately 200 yards in the year 1010. In the anniversary year of his flight, we decided to ignore this seminal event in human history and celebrate all the other interesting stuff that also happened in the town.  So, we dressed up as local figures Hannah Twynnoy and the tiger that ate her, King Athelstan, Walter Powell, and The Tamworth Two.

What’s most surprising is that we won, not one, but two prizes… Not only did we get first in our class, but we also won the Spirit of Malmesbury Carnival award. This is a new cup, which has been created in memory of carnival committee member and great supporter of everything to do with the carnival and the town, Paul Dove, who sadly and unexpectedly passed away earlier in the year. The 4014 Project and I are genuinely honoured to be the first group to be awarded this cup, and would like to thank the judges and the carnival comittee very much.

Winning this prize, as unexpected as it was, got me thinking. What is the Spirit of Malmesbury Carnival? After some consideration, my conclusion is this: Malmesbury Carnival is a celebration of the town, its people and most of all, its sense of fun! It’s a time to be silly, to have a laugh, to dress up, let loose and most of all to be a part of the wider community.  It’s inclusive, it’s fun, and I love it. 🙂

By the way, I’ll post some pics from this year when I can.


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