Bust-up snowballs over Christmas Carnival handout

Hucknall Christmas Carnival 2009
Hucknall Christmas Carnival 2009

A ROW has broken out over an annual grant given to help fund one of Hucknall’s biggest events — the annual Christmas Carnival.

Each year, organiser Hucknall Rotary Club is given £2,000 by Ashfield District Council through the Hucknall Area Consultative Group (ACG).

The money is regarded as crucial in making sure the flagship carnival, which attracts thousands of revellers and signals the start of the festive season, goes ahead.

Sadly, last year’s renewal was cancelled at the 11th hour because of severe snow and ice.

Now allegations have surfaced at a meeting of the ACG that the donation to the carnival last year was wrongly spent on other events supported by Rotary — most notably the Party In The Park concert earlier this year at the Rolls-Royce Leisure Club.

The claims sparked a proposal that the carnival should receive no funding this year as part of the ACG’s annual grant-giving exercise.

The proposal was thrown out, and a donation of £1,500 was rubberstamped.

Now the Rotary Club has moved to scotch the claims concerning the spending of last year’s grant.

Rotarian and carnival organiser Allan Johnson said: “The money is definitely always spent on the carnival. Without it, we would struggle to stage the event.”

This was echoed by Coun Kevin Rostance (Con), who is a Hucknall member of Notts County Council and a member of Rotary.

He spoke to the Rotary Club’s treasurer, Neil South, who said some of last year’s grant covered costs incurred from the cancelled carnival and some was spent on refurbishing the Santa’s Sleigh — a feature of the carnival parade.

“Not a penny of the grant was spent on Party In The Park,” said Coun Rostance. “The money is ring-fenced for the carnival.”

Concerns over the use of the grant arose after the Rotary Club submitted accounts as part of its application for funding this year.

It is also claimed that Rotary said in a letter that it had used some of the funding to support the Help For Heroes event.

The motion not to give the Rotary Club any money this year was made by Coun Ian Morrison (Lab). After the ACG meeting, he made it clear that he was a supporter of the carnival.

Coun Chris Baron (Lab), a Hucknall member of Ashfield Council, said this week: “If Rotary were going to spend the money on something else, they should have come back to us and explained that.

“Nobody is trying to undermine the amount of hard work Rotary puts into the carnival. They are volunteers and it is much appreciated.”