Aliens landed in Bacup for an out of this world space-themed carnival

Aliens landed in Bacup for an out of this world space-themed carnival and, after weeks of horrendous weather, the rain held off.

It was touch and go whether the event could be held as the ground in Moorlands Park, although dry on top, was saturated underneath after weeks of heavy rain. A parade of around 600, mostly young, people snaked from Broadclough Mill in Burnley Road through the town centre and out towards the Stubbylee and Moorlands Parks where the carnival fair was held.

People were already bagging benches in the town centre at 10.30am – 30 minutes before the parade set off. Buggies were made into space ships – the runner-up carnival entry by 7th Rossendale Brownies saw them visiting Planet Smores while the astronauts from St Joseph’s RC School were selected by Mayor of Rossendale Councillor Judith Driver as the best entry of 2024.

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People gathered at the corner of Park Road and Newchurch Road awaiting the parade’s arrival and were delighted to hear the wail of the bagpipes as Accrington Pipe Band led the procession for the first time in decades. In the park, rides, inflatables, stalls and games were set up and, after the procession arrived, a huge swell of people filtered into the park.

Rossendale Drum Majorettes marched in the procession, performed on the stage and also had a fundraising stall with stocks and splat the pig, which raised more than £70 towards new uniforms.

Director Simon Creasey said: “Everyone supported each other in the procession and it was out of this world. The streets were busy with people and everyone was cheering everyone else on, they were happy and had a good time.

“As ever, the event was very well organised – thanks to the organisers and volunteers for helping us with everything.”

It was the first time facepainter Dawn Hamer had worked since having a heart attack three months ago and her stall raised £210 for the British Heart Foundation. She said: “I’ve had a brilliant day and thank you to everyone who came up and asked if I was doing ok.”

Suzanne Brannan, who owns Coppice Cupcake and also ran a sweet stall, said: “We had sold out of all the cakes by 1.45pm. Everybody said that there were a lot of people here.

“It is brilliant and one of those events you can guarantee people turn out for. It is always so well supported. From the moment we arrived the volunteers were helping us to set up.”

Susan and Stephen Nuttall from Trinity Foodbank were delighted when their tombola raised nearly £200. Susan said: “Everyone has been so generous when they knew it was for the food bank. The money raised will go back into food and we will buy a few treats for the people who really need it. We open every Friday from 6-7pm.

Bacup Family Centre joined the procession and had a stall on the park. Manager Leila Allen said: “Our stall has done really well; just seeing people in the community out with their children and them eager to see what prize they had won.

“We also gave out free drinks. It was good to see everyone. It feels like half of Bacup is here and has been great to see the community coming together from grannies to great-grandchildren.”

For the first year a dog show was held in the sunken garden and organiser Lorraine Thomas, from Pups and Pooches, was delighted with the response. She said: “It has been fantastic – the sausage catching was hilarious and the winner of the fancy dress was a dog called rocket.”

BASCO – Bacup and Stacksteads Carnival Organisation – chairman Catherine Smyth said: “Thank you to all the parade entries, everyone who attended the park, helped to set everything up and make this year’s carnival yet another spectacular success.”

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