Hunstanton councillor resigns as band claims it wasn’t paid for playing at town carnival

From left - a moment's rest for mayor Adrian Winnington, his wife, mayoress Catherine, and event organiser, Steve Ellis art the Hunstanton Carnival 2017
From left - a moment's rest for mayor Adrian Winnington, his wife, mayoress Catherine, and event organiser, Steve Ellis art the Hunstanton Carnival 2017

A Hunstanton town councillor has resigned amid claims a band was not paid for appearing at the resort’s annual carnival last summer.

Steve Ellis’ resignation was accepted by town mayor Adrian Winnington ahead of last Friday’s scheduled meeting.

Although no explanation was given for the decision, a letter to the town council from the Cambridgeshire Caledonian Pipe Band was read out during the meeting, voicing concerns over organisation of the summer carnival.

The band, who had played at the event in previous years, was absent from this year’s carnival, which took place last month.

And Iain Soutter, its secretary and lead drummer, said they had been “surprised” to learn they were advertised to appear again in 2017, as they had not agreed to do so.

He said: “It is true that earlier this year I had a discussion with the event organiser, Mr Steve Ellis, during which we briefly discussed the possibility of the band returning again for 2017, as we have happily done for the past three years.

“However, that was on the basis of the band finally receiving payment for our performance in 2016; something I have been in touch with Mr Ellis about many many times over the past year.

“Each time he reassured me that payment would be made within days, promises that have unfortunately never been fulfilled.”

The letter acknowledged the town council was not responsible for the organisation of the carnival, but was the best forum for the band to raise its concerns.

The band’s concerns come after long-time Hunstanton In Bloom volunteer Pat Richardson announced his resignation from the group’s committee last month.

He claimed Mr Ellis had wrongly accused him of stealing and the group’s chairman, borough mayor Carol Bower, had not supported him.

During public question time, Mr Richardson outlined the group’s achievements during his involvement and urged both the mayor and the town council’s In Bloom representative, Christine Earnshaw, to resign from the group, before repeating the call at the end of the meeting.

Mrs Earnshaw refused, arguing it would be unfair to West Norfolk Council operations manager Chris Durham, who works with the group, and other committee members.

However, other members are understood to have resigned in support of Mr Richardson.