MORE than 20 good causes received donations of more than £27,000 from Swanage Carnival fundraisers – as one stalwart volunteer stood down.
Representatives from 23 organisations were invited to a special presentation event on Friday (October 13), where carnival volunteers handed over donations from funds raised at this year’s event.
Carnival chairman, Darren Strong, opened the evening welcoming guests and giving a summary of the 2023 attraction.
“This year’s theme was Under the Sea and the weather certainly gave us a few challenges and sometimes it felt like we were under the sea,” he said.
“It became a worry as we began churning up Sandpit Field, and it’s safe to say we were not expecting the week to turn out as successfully as it did.
“But great credit and thanks to the dedication of our brilliant committee and Friends of Carnival.
“We overcame the wind and the rain and delivered eight days of pure fun and entertainment, with only four events cancelled out of the 108 events planned, which was a fantastic achievement in itself, and I am very proud of all the hard work and dedication shown to enable us to carry on.”
He thanked volunteers, sponsors and the public for helping raise £27,650, which was handed out on the night.
Emergency services, Swanage Coastguard, Swanage Fire and Rescue and Swanage Lifeboat were among the first to receive donations.
Then followed 16 donations to charities and good causes in and around Swanage, voted for from a number of nominations.
The amount given to each was based on the amount of help provided by each organisation during the week, be it taking out a collection bucket, helping in the Carnival Souvenir Caravan or Information Tent, working on the Carnival Bar or counting coins from collections.
Swanage Carnival also has two annual charities that are supported each year; the Swanage Stroke Club, that received £500, and Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, that received £1,000.
This year, carnival president and longstanding volunteer, Brian Norman, stepped down from his role and members agreed it would be a fitting tribute for him to choose this year’s organisations that would be honoured.
Brian has served 34 years as a volunteer for Swanage Carnival, including two stints as chair and most recently as president, taking over from the late George Willey.
Although stepping down, Brian accepted an honorary lifetime membership and will therefore continue his affinity with Swanage Carnival.
He chose two good causes, Dementia Friendly Purbeck and the Memory Box Project in Poole Hospital Critical Care Unit, to receive donations.
Darren added: “It’s a privilege to have in one room so many of the people that make carnival possible.
“The Mowlem Theatre provides a fantastic setting for us to present our hard earned funds to many worthy causes.
“It’s also quite humbling to hear from the recipients what a difference the donation will make and how much those who volunteered enjoyed the week.”