Majorettes with nowhere to go - Karizma's view on Sidmouth Carnival ban

Sarah Causely, of Karizma Majorettes, gives her view on Sidmouth Carnival's decision to make majorette participation in this Saturday's procession 'inviation only'...

It's fair to say, that you either like watching majorettes perform, or you don't.

I have been around long enough to realise this and respect the views of others.

It is, however, unfair to say that hold-ups in carnivals are solely down to majorettes; I can honestly say that last year, there were no gaps whatsoever between our troupe and the entries in front of us - I made sure of it - because I didn't want to provide ammunition for those who seem all too keen to slam troupes.

I have been involved with majorettes and carnivals for over 25 years, and taken part in Sidmouth Carnival for as long as I can remember - be it as a troupe member or as a trainer.

Indeed, I remember all those years ago when Stuart Hughs took over Sidmouth.

I have never heard of any individual or group being refused entry to a carnival.

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Surely the whole essence of carnival is it's accessible to all? Those that want

to participate and those who want to spectate? It's about bringing communities

together - and boy, do we need that now more than ever in today's current economic climate.

Lets be blunt; it is children that we are talking about here, everyone seems to get wrapped up in trying to pin the blame and forgets that very important fact.

There are four East Devon troupes that I know of, all providing great opportunities for local kids to keep fit and healthy, learn new skills, build lasting friendships and increase self confidence. I think it's very sad, therefore, that none of these troupes have been allowed to participate.

Sidmouth Carnival shot themselves in the foot last year by having around eight different groups attend from as far afield as Tiverton and Poole - no wonder people got fed up! - and, to make it worse, they judged the troupes en-route which increased the pressure to perform and, although not always the case, could mean that gaps appear as troupes are reluctant to 'straight march' to close them up for fear that there may be a judge watching!

We took part in Axminster Carnival last Saturday, and, it being our home turf,

were relatively close to the front,- and just to set the record straight - we were not the ones who held it up!! - my girls stood for at least 15 minutes on the spot waiting to move - a marshal came and told us to 'Hurry up! - you're holding up the whole procession! Nice man. Obviously full of carnival spirit!

We get comments like that all the time and have come to expect them - I don't profess to be perfect, but 99 per cent of the time these accusations are incorrect.

I wonder if all the people who 'complained' to Mr Hughs, or indeed, Mr Hughs himself (is he still an East Devon councillor by the way?..) - would like to come and tell my 50 girls, who, incidentally, have been learning carnival routines every week since last September, why they are not allowed to take part in Sidmouth Carnival this year.