Carnival charity handouts under threat

Bumper charity handouts from north Norfolk's biggest seaside carnival could be a thing of the past, as costs continue to soar, its long-standing chairman has warned.

CROMER'S carnival chief has warned the days of big charity handouts from the popular event may be over, as finances tighten in the recession.

Chairman Tony Shipp said the £100,000 running costs for the action-packed programme were likely to rise further.

With bucket collections down, organisers have only been able to give out £800 this year - and it could be the shape of things to come, he added.

But Mr Shipp stressed the carnival's main aim was to provide free and cheap entertainment, and that organisations did their own fund-raising at events during the week, so "we are helping in other ways".

The news comes as another big local collection - the Royal Air Forces' Association Wings Week - also reported a major drop in this year's figures. The final tally for the Sheringham branch, which also covers Cromer and Holt, is down to £8,250 from just under £10,000 last year.

Press officer Sir Colin Turner said: "Everywhere people are feeling the tight financial situation. People who normally give me £10 or £20 were giving a fiver instead."

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Cromer carnival has been used to giving £3,000 to £4,000 of profits to good causes - and even reached £10,000 in one bumper year.

But this year's handout saw £500 given to the Ladybird Playgroup at Sheringham for its running of the park and ride scheme, £100 to Sheringham Primary School in return for equipment loans, and £200 to the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

Mr Shipp said the carnival was facing rising costs such as insurance, marquee hire and arena events.

And they were expected to edge higher again next year, particularly as they were also looking to stage more events for the 40th anniversary.

"The Red Arrows alone cost us £10,500 including the insurance," said Mr Shipp. He added: "If we were going all out just to raise money for charities we would not run the carnival the way we do. We could raise as much money with one good fete. But we are about providing lots of free and cheap entertainment."

He urged future carnival goers to give generously to bucket collections as the free fireworks night raised £5,000, but cost £6,500 to stage, adding: "We do rely on people giving generously."

Anyone with ideas for the carnival can contact Mr Shipp on 01263 512591 or via