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Places - SCrowning Sheringham Carnival Queen - David Clayton and Wally Webb1983 - M103922-20 - C1169

Places - SCrowning Sheringham Carnival Queen - David Clayton and Wally Webb1983 - M103922-20 - C11690 - Credit: Archant

The roots of Sheringham Carnival lie in the late 19th century, when local fishermen held races at sea. These became regattas, with added attractions, including a greasy pole contest with a pig as first prize.

The carnival grew out of those early competitions and went on to become a regular feature on the town's calendar.

But, following the outbreak of the Second World War, Sheringham residents had to forego this popular annual event for a number of years.

However, in 1953, local restaurant owner Elsie Williams decided the town should mark the Queen's coronation with a celebration.

She organised a carnival, recruiting family members to help out, and leading a procession wearing famous Sheringham fisherman Go-Farther Pegg's red hat.


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The carnival continued to be held sporadically during the 1950s, with organisers including Sheringham Salvation Army, a Mrs Mason, and what was then the urban district council.

Carnival chairmen included local bank manager and town councillor John Bell and policeman Peter Cripps.

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In 1962, Sheringham Urban District Council member Bryan Pigott, who first took part in the carnival as a youngster in the 1940s, decided that reviving the annual event would be a good way of raising the cash needed to turn a classroom at Sheringham Primary School - which was then in New Road - into a swimming pool.

The event was a great success and organisers not only raised enough to cover the cost of the pool but also had money left over for local good causes.

Attractions that year included a soapbox derby, a ladies' football match and a greasy pole competition, held at Upcher groyne on the west beach.

The 1962 carnival queen's dress was hired from a Norwich firm, with her blue velvet cloak.

And in those days, some big names came to Sheringham for the crowing ceremony, including comedians Mike and Bernie Winters, Jimmy Clitheroe, Norman Vaughan and Stan Stennet.

This year's Carnival Queen selection night will be held at the Two Lifeboats Hotel in Sheringham on Friday, April 15, starting at 7.30pm, with judging following at 8.30pm.

Ladies aged 16 and over who live within a three-mile radius of St Peter's Church and who are available all Carnival week and for the Cromer Carnival parade on August 17 are invited to put themselves forward for the position of Carnival Queen and her Attendants.

Organiser Della McClean said: 'All the girls involved enjoy a fantastic week and I always say at the beginning of the week it will just fly by.

'The carnival week is one of the busiest weeks of the year and helps promote the town of Sheringham. It's much different now to how it was years ago - it's no longer a beauty pageant. The girls get involved in the community all year round, visiting nursing homes, and choosing the prince and princess, and they will be involved in the switching on of the Christmas lights.'

Meanwhile, the carnival committee has confirmed the return of the Three Peaks (Norfolk) Challenge on Saturday, August 13 following the success of the inaugural event last year.

Walkers and fun runners are invited to scale Beeston Hill, Incleboro Hill and Stone Hill to raise money for local good causes. Sponsorship forms are now available by contacting Paula Popham on 01263 823546.

There is a charge of £1 per adult to enter, accompanied children go free. No entry fee if you have raised at least

£5 sponsorship. Registration is at 10am on the day. And everyone who takes part will receive a certificate.

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