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West Norfolk village celebrates community spirit with 'walking carnival' after annual event cancelled

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It may not have been the event they had planned for, but when Northwold Carnival had to be cancelled for the first time in decades, the village joined together for a unique version of their annual celebrations.

Northwold’s Parent, Teachers and Friends Association (PTFA) had to cancel their 44th annual carnival, which was planned to take place last Saturday, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But instead of calling off the traditional event altogether, they organised a carnival walking bus – with social-distancing measures in place – through the village on Sunday, with one float and many colourful costumes.

As those in the carnival walking bus made their way through the streets, residents watched from their homes and helped raise almost £200 for the PTFA.

Ailene MacMullen said: “It was the best thing to happen in the village for ages.”

PTFA member Jenny Mason said it was with “great sadness” that the event was cancelled for the first time.

“Although it takes a lot of hard work from a dedicated team it is so rewarding to see all the effort that children make with their costumes so it was lovely that something so serious did not dampen their spirit,” she added.

This year, as a school vote that decides who will be the carnival queen was not held, there were three queens – with everyone else walking behind.

Hazel Jolly, whose family had a ‘Jolly Roger’ ship in the parade, said: “We had great fun waving at everyone as we walked through the village. There was such a great sense of community spirit, it was lovely.”

Sheena Randell said: “It is lovely to be able to say that Northwold is a wonderful community that always pulls together no matter what.”

And Gary Cater added: “The PTFA would like to thank everyone for taking part, watching while social distancing from their gardens and we look forward to carnival 2021.”

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