Senior citizens from across Bloxwich and district joined forces with local young people and carnival supporters in an afternoon of food, fun and fine entertainment last Thursday 19 July when Bloxwich Carnival hosted them as guests at their annual party at the former
And welcome guests from a local school put the icing on the cake for the more than two hundred “old folks” attending, who tucked in at the invitation of the Carnival Committee issued via various local groups, organisations and nursing homes in the very civilised Art Deco surroundings of the former 1920s baths on Pinfold, which is now a permanent function hall associated with Bloxwich Leisure Centre.
The tradition of an “Old Folks Party”, now associated with the carnival, and probably the Victorian wakes before that, goes back a long way in the village, with the annual spectacular (this year on 16 July) originally raising funds for local hospitals and ex-servicemen of the Great War following the 1919 peace celebrations, together with
doing general good deeds and raising funds for the elderly of Bloxwich.
When the carnival – which has had remarkable ups and occasional downs over the decades and finished in 1985 due to lack of support – was revived by the Friends of Bloxwich Parks for the Millennium in 2000, it continued successfully under a new committee and in 2001 the Senior Citizens’ Tea Party was revived, at first taking place on the Friday before the Carnival, where invited pensioners attended a performance by one of Pat Collins’ fairground organs.
This year’s happy throng were not only very well-served by ‘carnival royalty’ Alice Jones (Bloxwich Carnival Queen 2012), Jessica Jones (Carnival Queen 2010), Amelia Ellis (Carnival Princess 2011) and Megan Leigh Small (Carnival Rosebud 2011) but also by many members of Bloxwich Carnival Committee and other supporters including local young people from 196 (Walsall) Squadron Air Training Corps cadets, based in Stokes Street, Bloxwich.
Staff of the Bloxwich Co-operative (Food) store in Lichfield Road also brought a massive hamper and basket of chocolate as the top raffle prizes, as well as joining in with helping serve the more than 200 party-goers.
The event started off with Grace said by Revd. Monica Arnold, Curate of All Saints Church, Bloxwich. Then, as well as a fine tea, the guests were treated to a grand singalong of classic tunes by veteran professional musicians and vocalists Antony Socci (on trumpet) and colleague (on keyboard) of Sapphire Entertainments, who really know how to work a crowd, raising many to their feet to dance.
In addition to serenading sounds from a stage once graced by such world-famous acts as Jerry Lee Lewis, guests were also entertained by the remarkable talents of two groups from local combined school the Mirus Academy (incorporating Hatherton Lane Primary and Frank F. Harrison Comprehensive) of Beechdale Estate, Leamore. The wonderful voices of the junior choir filled the hall with songs from their new musical, ‘Robin Hood’, and were followed by remarkable routines from the young teenage ladies of the Academy’s dance group, all to great acclaim from the audience.
Even the staff of the Co-op got in on the act, with one young gentlemen named Leigh being coaxed on stage to give his rendition of ‘Daisy, Daisy’!
Finally, accompanied by much jollity from both stage and audience, the guests all took part in a two prize raffles organised by the carnival committee, with the winning tickets picked out by by this year’s Bloxwich Carnival royals.
Master of Ceremonies Terry Bate, Chairman of Bloxwich Carnival Committee, led proceedings and introduced both entertainers and carnival royalty alike to the happy, cheering audience. A great way to conclude the carnival year in style. Here’s to the 2013 Bloxwich Carnival!
PARTY PHOTO ALBUM
Many more Bloxwich Telegraph photographs of this event are available to view in a special Flickr photo album to be found by clicking this link.