Barrel roller retires from Ottery event after five decades

PUBLISHED: 07:00 16 September 2017 | UPDATED: 09:33 19 September 2017

A picture of Kev Carter in his tar barrel days. Contributed

A picture of Kev Carter in his tar barrel days. Contributed

Archant

Ottery’s Tar Barrels event will not feature one of its rollers this year after he decided to retire after five decades.

Kev Carter with his sons Archie, 4, and Zack 2, has dedicded to stop rolling tar barrels after 50 years.Kev Carter with his sons Archie, 4, and Zack 2, has dedicded to stop rolling tar barrels after 50 years.

A prominent tar barrel roller is bowing out after an impressive five decades of involvement with the Ottery bonfire tradition.

Kevin Carter has decided to call it a day ahead of this year’s event which he has been taking part in since he was seven.

The bricklayer is the third generation of his family to take part, following in the footsteps of his dad and granddad and says he has been proud to roll with some of the town’s legends over the years.

Kevin, who grew up in Yonder Street, said: “I have never missed one tar barrel in 50 years.

“You look up to them [other rollers], you have a chance to roll with them. They are real characters and the camaraderie is unbelievable, you do watch each others backs.

“It’s great to keep something going that is unique to Ottery, it will be a shame to see a family name drop off the list, but I hope it will be living on with my boys.”

He said he and his wife are trying to decide whether sons Archie, four, and Zack, two, will participate when they are old enough.

The Feniton resident said: “Unless you come from Ottery you do not always understand. It’s a right of passage.”

“It’s the excitement. It’s not done for the crowds, it’s for our entertainment. It’s the adrenaline rush, you have to watch each other’s backs all the time.”

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