BENTHAM Carnival may be destined for the history books if new committee members cannot be found.

Former committee chairman Mike Redfern has been at the helm for the past six years since it took on its present form the year before.

But he said committee members were dwindling and it was feared the event may fizzle without new input.

He said: “The first Bentham carnival that I got involved with ( in 2012) lasted days and days. We had ‘My Last Car’ playing in the town hall for days; a fabulous piece of theatre and art with performances, audience participation and a completely disassembled car.

“We had the Astronaut’s Caravan on Grove Hill House car park, decorated cars, and the big flotilla. Music in the pubs and in Grove Hill Garage - and dancing in the streets.

“Feedback was so positive that we thought we might do it again. So we did and over the past few years we’ve done it again and again.

“We’ve had international superstar poets Doctor John Cooper Clarke and Mike Garry perform. We’ve had more musicians than hot pies, a stray chicken, the boom bike, bay beat, Mr Splodge, a pirate ship and countless brilliantly decorated umbrellas.

“Schools, the Looking Well studio, family front rooms and sheds have become art rooms. And you people have made the last Saturday in May a grand day out.

“We’ve always relied on volunteers to manage the day. Behind the scenes we have volunteers who lead and contribute to workshops and construction. Those of you who have helped – “thanks”. Other volunteers form the ‘committee’ and over the years we have had a total of 12 people offer up their own time to fundraise, plan and manage the whole thing. On average a core of six who spend about three evenings a month from February to May making fun happen.”

However, a problem has arisen in that the committee has dwindled to the point there is now nobody left and an appeal is going out for people to get on board so that Carnival 2020 will go ahead.

“But Bentham, we have a problem. Carnival 2020 might not even get off the launch pad. Right now we have a committee of, err, zero..

“We have some money and some enthusiastic volunteers to make life easier. The treasurer will remain in post, purely administratively, to look after the carnival bank account.

“We could even do a Glastonbury and have a fallow year. But hey, it’s going to be 2020. What a number. Think what we could do with that. The possibilities.”

Mr Redfern said the few left on the current committee were lively to stand down en masse at the AGM in January leaving no one .

“The carnival in its present form has been going for seven years, and as you’d expect the membership of the committee - the small group that make the carnival happen - has gone up and down through the years. People come on board and people leave.

“This year the committee was fairly small, with a handful of others who contributed when their speciality was on the agenda.

“People leave for a range of reasons, and this year its been pretty much the same as other years, except we’ve all done it at once.

“ A couple have left because of work commitments, one has moved out of Bentham and a couple of others cite children and family reasons. “Interestingly, all have stated that they want to volunteer and make it happen on the day of the carnival.

“I’ve been chair of the committee for six years, and feel the need to enjoy the event this coming year rather than be on the committee.

“Both the treasurer and I have said we’ll be there for the new committee , but that this year we’d really like to be hands off rather than hands on.”

An article in the local magazine prompted two people to step forward and offer their services.

They have already begun planning the 2020 event but won’t be able to do it by themselves so the call is going out to encourage a handful more.

“I’m confident people will come forward. It’s a fabulous experience making the Carnival happen, and although it’s a frenzy of hard work leading up to and, on, the day the feeling of a job well done is brilliant.

“TThat pint when you’ve tidied up and reflected on the happy faces is one of the best.”

Anyone able to dedicate a few hours each month to help organise the event can go along to the AGM and put their name forward, or get in touch with any past committee members in the town.