Carnival can prosper in spite of exits

Picture shows Nicky Pickering (grey coat) and Karren McCarthy who are stepping down from the carnival committee

Picture shows Nicky Pickering (grey coat) and Karren McCarthy who are stepping down from the carnival committee

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Organisers behind the revival of the Chorley Carnival have insisted the ‘show will go on’ despite the shock resignation of its founding members.

Karren McCarthy and Nicky Pickering have stepped down from the committee, saying they wanted to leave on a high, after their hard work saw thousands of people turn out for the first carnival in almost 20 years.

Calls were made for the pair to receive a civic award after the success of the three-day event in June, which saw the return of the popular street parade, fun fair and a packed programme of events.

But, the two mums said they want to be able to enjoy the next carnival with their own children after realising their dream of bringing it back to the town.

Now, Maurice Cobelt, who was the chairman of the old carnival committee, has stepped in as honorary president and plans have also been revealed to bring back the annual firework display to Astley Park in November.

The event ran for more than 30 years before Chorley Lions were forced to cancel it in 2009 due to falling volunteer numbers, changes to health and safety and hygiene regulations and changes to the park.

Paul Wilkins, new chairmanof the Carnival Committee, said: “These ladies did a brilliant job in reviving the old tradition of the Chorley Carnival and it was a huge success with

thousands of people lining the thousands of people lining the streets of Chorley for the fantastic parade.

“They put a lot of time, effort and hard work in to reviving the carnival, which had been their idea, and they deserve a big thank you for what they did.

“We will now build on their success with the original committee members and our new honorary president, who has a lot of experience of running the carnival over many years.

“We want 2014 to be even bigger and better and plans are already in place and we have confirmed the date of June 6, 7 and 8.”

Mr Wilkins added: “We’ve also got plans to bring back the popular firework display to Astley Park.

“For decades families would turn out to the organised event on bonfire night and we want to revive that old tradition too.

“Last year we held a bonfire at the rugby club to help raise funds for the carnival, but planning permission has been granted for new houses there. The event will be in the park on Friday, November 1.

“We will have a professional firework display, fun fair, food and outdoor stage.

“We are expecting thousands to attend and admission will be by donation.”

Mr Wilkins also confirmed that the committee plans to run the Christmas Grotto once again in the town centre throughout

December.

Announcing their resignation, Karren and Nicky said: “Over the past 12 months we have raised, through donations and sponsorship, a staggering £27,000.

“The cost of the carnival and staging events throughout the year came to £19,000.

“We can therefore give £1,000 to each of our three nominated charities, Home- Start, Cash For Kids and Macmillan Nurses.

“We also have a stepping stone in the bank to allow next year’s carnival to go ahead and we would like to wish the new committee every success.

“We also say a huge thank you to the people of Chorley for helping to make the revival of the carnival what it was.”