A real Jewel in Honiton’s carnival crown

Pensioner writes to carnival committee from her home in the Cayman Islands.

FOND memories of Honiton and District Carnival have prompted an 82-year-old woman from the Cayman Islands to put pen to paper.

In the early 1970s Jewel Smalldon was a breath of fresh air in Honiton.

At the age of 43, the mother-of-five entered Honiton Carnival Queen competition.

She was runner-up in 1971, but her boundless enthusiasm and lust for fund-raising won her many admirers and reams of coverage in the local press.

Mrs Smalldon, who told reporters at the time that she entered the contest out of boredom, even organised a Miss Honiton contest, which was staged in the Red Cross Hall and judged by the then mayor and mayoress and the matron of Honiton Hospital.

However, she was best known for her sponsored walks and street stalls.

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A year later, Mrs Smalldon entered two of her children in the carnival royalty competition - her daughter, Katherine, became princess and her son, Peter, was crowned prince.

She has written to the carnival committee, enclosing old photographs of the royal party.

“I always read Honiton news online,” she told them. “At one time, I thought we would come back to Honiton to settle, but instead ended up in Kent and, from there, decided to come home to the sun, sand and sea.”

Mrs Smalldon’s husband served in the Devon and Dorset Regiment and the family had moved to Honiton from Malta - hence her boredom.

She found found fame and raised a small fortune for Honiton Carnival over a period of just three years.

Before leaving Honiton for Kent, her tireless work was rewarded with a presentation.

The carnival committee, headed by Pat Allen, presented Mrs Smalldon with a piece of Honiton Pottery.

“I have a lot of photos in my scrapbook, but they are stuck down and are so old I could only get these few out without destroying them,” she told today’s carnival committee.

She even invited committee members to enjoy a holiday at her Cayman Islands home.

Honiton and District Carnival will take place at 7.30pm on Saturday.

Marshals are still required. Call Belinda Bennett at the Midweek Herald on (01392) 888488 if you can help.

There will be a bingo in the Mackarness Hall on Wednesday night and a race night at the Royal British Legion on Friday night.