THERE were nun better at the Bognor Regis Carnival than one of the town’s day centres.
Portraying Sister Act brought a double success at this year’s event for the Laburnum Centre and Gym.
The 42 members involved with the float based on the hit musical won the prize for best overall entry, as well as winning the senior club and group category.
Sarah Smith, the centre’s manager, said: “None of us here can remember the centre being awarded the prize as the best entry in the carnival.
“It feels amazing and we are all absolutely made up about it. Our entry was a major team effort. Everybody chipped in and did their jobs in the right place at the right time.
“Entering the carnival is about getting out in the community and showing people that we provide services and facilities for the over 50s.
“We have a great social atmosphere where people can meet people and come along on their own or as a couple.”
The gaggle of nuns on the float and surrounding it along the parade route was one of the largest in last Saturday’s event. It was the fourth of the annual occasions to be held by the Bognor Regis Carnival Association.
Just under 40 entries took part to make it the largest the team of volunteers had organised. They went along the seafront from Gloucester Road to West Park via Aldwick Road and Nyewood Lane.
Seven colourful, and often noisy, floats provided plenty to see for the thousands of spectators who lined the route. They each brought their interpretation of the West End show theme to life alongside the walking entries.
South Bersted C of E School chose Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. For Bognor Regis Scouting, it was Les Miserables and Cats among others and Bognor Regis Swimming Club chose Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Mamma Mia! was the choice of the Chestnuts Day Centre and the Regis Centre portrayed its summer show in August to scoop the first prize for the best local or national trade tableaux.
Its operations manager, Hazel Latus, said: “We are thrilled to win a first prize in such a wonderful parade as this. Our float took a lot of work by a lot of people, such as Maureen Dillon.
“It’s important we take part in the carnival. It lets people who are from outside the town, as well as local residents, know what we are doing.
“The carnival is good for the town. You can’t beat seeing all these people smiling and enjoying themselves.”
Other entries included Girlguiding, the Arabesque School of Performing Arts, the Bognor Regis Kite Festival, St Wilfrid’s Church’s family support work, Razzmataz Theatre School, the Rich and Tremblar family from Bognor Regis, the town’s RAFA 381 branch and Bognor Regis WI. The parade was led by the Bournemouth Youth Marching Band.
A full day of events also took place in and around the arena at West Park. They included a dog show with at least 80 entries. The prize for best young handler was won by Jessie Sturridge, ten, with two-year-old cockapoo, Lottie.
She said: “This is the only prize I’ve won with Lottie and I’m really happy. I kept her close to me and kept saying ‘heel’ to her.”
Carnival association chairman Steve Hearn said: “Our thanks go to everyone for helping to make this year’s event the biggest and best we have held.
“It’s been a fantastic day and the floats were fabulous. There were a great variety of West End shows and a lot of hard work went into them.
“We will be back next year, hopefully, even bigger and better. But we could do with some more volunteers. There are only seven of us and it takes a lot of work to stage an event of this size.”
Overall prize: The Laburnum Centre. Mixed bunch group senior/juvenile: 1 Girlguiding, 2 St Wilfrid’s Church. Local/national trade tableaux: 1 Arun Arts, 2 Specsavers.
Junior group: 1 South Bersted C of E School, 2 Razzmataz Theatre School. Senior club and group: 1 Laburnum Centre, 2 Chestnut Day Centre.
Best walking entry: 1 Ryde Carnival, 2 Gabrielle Boot-Cooke. Erik Jack Special Award: Chestnut Day Centre