Wells City Carnival: reassurances about health and safety; clubs discuss their entries; and list of road closures

November 04 2017
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ORGANISERS will be very conscious of health and safety at this year’s Wells Carnival following the accident at Chard.

A woman was seriously injured when she became trapped under a vehicle at the end of Chard Carnival last month.

Wells Carnival chairman and chief marshal Martin Coppell said: “As always when these very rare incidents occur action is taken.

“We have in carnival very strict guidelines for health and safety, more so in fact than that of industries nationally. I can assure people that these measures will be in place for Wells Carnival.

“The ground crews are trained to a very high standard in these areas of health and safety.”

Martin reminded the public to stand well clear of the carts as they pass by, and asked parents to keep a close eye on their children at all times and prevent them from running on to the road to pick up coins when a collection vehicle passes.

The carnival will get underway at 7pm on Friday, November 17, starting at the roundabout by the Sherston Inn.

Carnival-goers are being urged to buy light-up novelties from official sellers this year rather than the growing number of pedlars trying to cash in on the occasion.

Organisers say that contrary to the perception, pedlars do not contribute to carnival, whereas money made by official sellers will go back into the local community and help secure the future of carnival.

“We lose a lot of money to the pedlars,” said Wells Carnival president Maurice Day.

“We’re selling our own tat – totally awesome toys – this year, so please buy from us.”

There will be official sellers – wearing special tabards identifying them as such – at three points around the route in Wells.

Gorgons CC

WELLS will be rocking when the Gorgons cart takes to the streets this year.

The Regeneration Rock Tour is based on a music factory where the punks and rockers are making the instruments.

Members of club, based at The Britannia Inn, have been working on the 60ft cart since February, and Sammie Bennett said: “I love that we are busy all year to put on the show in November. Behind the scenes when we tuck the cart away after Glastonbury Carnival we are still out in all weathers fundraising. There is no time to be bored, it’s a hobby that will definitely keep you occupied.”

Sammie, who lives in Wells and is a physics technician at the Blue School, joined the club a year ago with her sister Katie. Between them they set up and run the 100 Club that is drawn monthly via a live stream on Gorgons’ Facebook page.

Sammie’s favourite memory from the past 12 months is of being Santa on Gorgons’ cart last Christmas. “Waving, dancing and handing out sweets to lots of children running out from their houses in their PJs and seeing how happy they are, pure joy,” she said.

She is feeling a familiar excitement as the date of this year’s Wells Carnival approaches.

“I have been attending Wells Carnival for over 20 years, I love it,” she said.

“Everyone looks forward to seeing what all the clubs bring to the city for a spectacular evening of entertainment. When you see the lights from the carts reflecting in the windows of the houses and shops and the anticipation of what is heading along the road builds, your inner child can’t help but come out. Carnival is something truly amazing that Wells has to offer and I really hope that as a community we continue to support this great event for many years to come.”

Globe CC

THIS year’s Globe entry, White Magic, promises to be a spellbinding spectacle.

“It’s based around snow and ice and wizards casting spells and dragons,” said cart captain Jon Day.

“It’s going to be spectacular and atmospheric.”

For music Globe have chosen Luc Arbogast’s version of O Fortuna, a tune familiar to many from the Old Spice advert. “It’s quite a modern take. It should be good,” said Jon.

The 40-strong club are based at Wells Football Club and will celebrate their 50th anniversary next year. They are using LEDs for the first time this year for 50 per cent of the lights – which means they have been able to cut down the generator size – as well as halogen LED floodlights to wash the cart with colour.

The theme was chosen in February and they have been working on their entry ever since.

“Everybody’s got their own sections and their own job,” said Jon, whose father is Wells Carnival president Maurice Day.

The Wells Carnival is always special for Globe members, Jon added.

“It’s our home town so it’s always going to be nice to come home,” said Jon.

“We do most of our fundraising in Wells so it’s nice to show people where their money’s been spent. It’s also the best party – we let our hair down.”

Mendip Vale CC

MENDIP Vale will be blazing a trail this year with a cart on which all the lightbulbs have been replaced by LEDs.

The LED chips – white, orange and colour-changing RGB – will create a similar effect to the bulbs, but will cut fuel savings by more than £1,500, according to club chairman Neil Kinnersley.

They are the first carnival club in mid-Somerset to use just LEDs. There will be nearly 4,000 of them, each individually wired and programmed to change in time to the music: Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s Two Tribes.

The music will be pumping out as soldiers with swords and shields and women in Greek costume act out a city under siege in Mendip Vale’s entry Troy. Designer Ashley Guise, a painter and decorator, said: “It’s based on Ancient Greece. I had the idea of doing a horse on the front of the tractor.

“It’s a bit different. It’s never been done in carnival before.”

Mendip Vale are based at The Venue in Wells and were founded in 1965.

They currently have 34 members, many of whom have been busy for months at Butler Carnival Park, Glastonbury, getting the cart ready for the carnival circuit.

“In June and July we’re down here twice a week, then from September 1 it’s every day,” said Neil.

“Now we’re down here for 12 hours a day on weekends and from 6.30 to 10 or 11 in the evenings. There’s a lot of work goes into it.”

“It’s a way of life at this time of year,” added cart captain Tom Sheppard.

Cobra CC

COBRA will be unwrapping a Christmas-themed cart for this year’s carnival circuit.

The entry will see Santa and his elves busy in Santa’s workshop finishing the last of the orders for Christmas.

The club’s 45 full members, many associates and supporters, have been busy themselves for the past year fundraising and working on the cart.

“It’s incredible how a trailer can be transformed into something so amazing,” said Charlotte Serpis, the club’s vice secretary, gangs and features representative and also the choreographer. “I have formed such a great bond with the people who are in our club, they really are a fab bunch, we are like an extended family,” she added.

For the first time Cobra – based at the Tramways club in West Street – are entering the carnivals with a 60ft cart, but expect to be back next year with a 100ft cart.

This is their 25th anniversary year, and current chairman Vince Graham is a founder member.

Charlotte has been involved with Cobra since 2010, and as usual, she is looking forward to Wells Carnival with particular excitement. She said: “Wells is great, we are a Wells-based club so to be in our home town and seeing people in the crowd that we know makes it even more enjoyable.”

Road closures

WELLS Relief Road will be closed to all vehicles from Dulcote Junction at Dulcote to Thompson Road Junction from 7.30pm on Wednesday, November 15, until 2am on Thursday, November 16. Wells Relief Road will also be closed as necessary to all east-bound traffic from Dulcote Junction at Dulcote to Glastonbury Road Junction from 7.30pm on Wednesday, November 15, to 3.30pm on Friday, November 17, and to all traffic from 9am to 11pm on Friday, November 17.

Strawberry Way North, Strawberry Way South, Durkheim Drive and Sheldon Drive will be closed to all vehicles except for local access, and access to businesses, from 6pm to 11pm on November 17.

Other roads that will be closed to traffic at times on November 17 are:

The unclassified road from the western side of Dulcote to Worminster (passing Dulcote Quarry and Scarlett Withies Farm), and unclassified roads from the western side of Dulcote to road from A39 south of Wells at Browne's Nursery to North Wootton via Launcherley serving Wellesley Cottages, Wellesley Farm, Greenacres and Hill House Farm, from 6pm to midnight.

Burcott Road (East of Coronation Road), Tucker Street, West Street, Wells Relief Road (from Dinder Lodge Junction to Glastonbury Road Junction), from 3.30pm to 11pm.

A39 at Tin Bridge roundabout Glastonbury to Wells, from 6pm to midnight.

Broad Street, Chamberlain Street, Constitution Hill (towards Dulcote Junction), Glastonbury Road, High Street, Mountery Road, New Street (south of The Liberty), Portway (Coronation Road to New Street/Chamberlain Street), Priory Road, St Andrews Street (west of East Liberty), Sadler Street, Tor Street and Whiting Way, from 4.30pm to 11pm.

• Picture clockwise from top left: Globe, Gorgons, Mendip Vale and Cobra