“My final Carnival message is an appeal to every man, woman and child in Long Eaton to be a cog in the Carnival wheel. If they determine to be so, the wheel will go smoothly and the utmost success will be ours.” – JW Martin, Chairman Long Eaton Hospital Carnival Committee (Source: Long Eaton Advertiser, 11th September 1931)
This message, published on the first night of the Carnival revelries, ushered in what was later described as ”Long Eaton’s Gay and Joyous week” – the first Long Eaton Hospital Carnival.
Held in September 1931, a fortnight or so after the now long vanished Long Eaton Wakes, the townsfolk organised a week-long schedule of events, gala dinners, concerts and parades. This format continued for eight years until 1939, when the event was shortened to four days in July. The ultimate aim of the events was to raise funds for local hospitals, and for the people of Long Eaton to show their indebtedness to them. Local people duly rose to the challenge, some £10,980 being raised in the years 1932–34.
The weeks were preceded by, amongst other things, the sale of the Carnival program -“The Ram”. Its pages revealed the depth of community involvement with the project; in 1934 over 250 people are named, sitting on the executive and 10 sub-committees, the largest of which – the Parade Committee- numbered some 77 citizens.
In 1948, 10,000 people attended the crowning of the Carnival Queen.
Jumping quickly to 1970, the committee of the Long Eaton Festival of Music and the Arts (an event which had provided similar events in the intervening years) agreed to start the Carnival as the opener for its week-long activities. In 1971, the Long Eaton Advertiser reported “It looked like colourful chaos” and “It was as if the whole of Long Eaton had come to see the show”.
The modern carnival continued successfully throughout the three decades up to 2000, when the Carnival Committee felt unable to continue with the exhausting schedule of the organisation.
A new committee was formed in 2003, renaming itself the Long Eaton Community Carnival Association. The carnival itself restarted in 2004.
There is a more in-depth history of the Carnival years 1931-1939 on the Long Eaton & Sawley Archive below.