Published: October 12, 2012
In photos: First look at Burnham carnival club's float as it takes shape

Burnham-On-Sea's Hillview Carnival Club is a hive of activity this week as its team of members work around the clock to get their float finished in time for the start of November's carnival season. was invited to take a look behind the scenes this week at the work underway to complete the 100ft long cart, which will be seen by tens of thousands of people at carnivals across Somerset.

This year's float is called 'Hollywood Hotel 1939' and has a haunted hotel theme featuring lightning and ghostly characters.

Decorated with more than 10,000 light bulbs, it has cost the club more than £10,000 to build.

Hillview's Chairman, Mark Bishop, pictured with designer Aron Whiting, told "A lot of thought has gone into designing this year's cart, which has 70 moving parts and will really look special."

He said the team has spent a full year building the entry, and making major alterations to the fabric of the float to comply with new road safety regulations.

"Safety is a top priority for us - we never cut corners - but to comply with the new regulations a lot of extra work has been necessary," said Mark.

"We have installed a new chassis and a whole new braking system which has involved substantial changes. Our drivers have all had to go on special training courses to be fully compliant this year."

He added that the club has had to watch every penny it has spent. "£10,000 is a lot of money to find in these difficult times - and we only survive by donations. We are hugely grateful to all those who help us with fundraising. Clubs can only survive with donations and we are very fortunate to have fantastic support."

"We're especially grateful for the support of Woodberry Brothers in Highbridge who have allowed us to build the cart on their premises. Given the major changes needed this year, having the extra space has been wonderful."

The 100ft long cart will go on show to the public for the first time at Bridgwater Carnival on November 3rd and it will come home to Burnham for the town's carnival on Monday November 12th.

Mark estimates that this year's new carnival route, which starts with Bridgwater on Saturday November 3rd and then goes to Weston followed by North Petherton, Burnham, Shepton, Wells and Glastonbury, will cost the club a lot of extra money in fuel.

"It will be an expensive year for us moving around, but we are all keen to see improvements and we are keeping an open mind on the changes. I always say the town committees should run the carnivals while the clubs run the carts."

Hillview's team of 20 volunteers have this week been busily painting large sections of the cart's sides, as the exterior takes shape.

Mark said the club is hopeful that it can do well this year, but the members don't want to raise expectations. "We'll be really delighted if we do well, but it's the taking part that's so important for us and creating some fun and smiles."


Burnham-On-Sea Carnival 2012


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