BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, January 30th, 2012 (CUOPM) – A Kittitian who organised the first Carnival in Leeds, England wants to ensure that carnival headquarters at Sheepscar Street North hit by arson last August, following dis-order in the Chapeltown area is repaired in time for this year’s celebrations.
According Alison Bellamy of the Yorkshire Evenng Post, founder and chairman of the Leeds Carnival Committee, Arthur France, originally from St. Kitts, organised the first carnival in Leeds while he was a student at Leeds University. He has remained in the city ever since.
This year’s Leeds West Indian Carnival will be the brightest and biggest to date.
Marking the 45th carnival in the city, it will also celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics 2012, with handmade costumes fitting the themes.
The very first Caribbean carnival in Europe was held in Leeds in 1967 and was organised by grandfather Arthur France, of Roundhay.
He said: “I have helped organise and have attended each and every carnival since 1967, never missing one to date. It is part of me.”
“This will be the biggest and best carnival to date. We will be making an extra special effort with more floats than usual and costumes marking the Queen’s 60 years on the throne, and of course the Olympics. Plus people from other cities will be taking part as well.”
Preparations are soon to begin on the colourful costumes for the carnival parade, which will follow its traditional route from Potternewton Park and through the streets of Harehills and Chapeltown.
It has attracted 100,000 people in the past.
The carnival headquarters at Sheepscar Street North were hit by arson last August, following dis-order in the Chapeltown area.
The premises were badly damaged and repair work is still going on.
Mr. France added: “We are currently painting and getting the premises back to normal. A lot of damage and upset was caused at the time, as well as the biggest archive of carnival history files burned.”
Over the next few weeks designs are being created and work on costumes will start as soon as volunteers can.
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