Being a Member of Parliament brings a range of varied experiences, but it is fair to say that walking in a procession behind a giant mechanical fox has been one of the most unusual. It turns out to be one of the most enjoyable as well, as it was my small contribution to the Carnival of the Baubles, which in the last few years has marked the start of Christmas for Ashford.
This year’s procession was a triumph, from the skilful steering of Farrah the Fox (No I ‘m not sure why a giant fox either) at the front of the show through the many young peoples’ groups dancing and singing their way along Bank Street and High Street carrying home made lights.
Most of all though the pleasure came from the crowds that lined the route. Every year this event seems to get bigger, and this time the whole of the procession route was filled with happy faces. It was so good to see the town centre full on a cold dark Saturday evening and I hope many of the shops, cafes and bars did good business on the back of it.
Of course, the planning of the Carnival takes many months, and I imagine that fingers have been made sore in sewing the intricate designs of many of the illuminated Baubles. Behind the scenes a large number of people deserve great credit for the work they have put in.
Walking with the Mayor and Mayoress at the front of the procession was much less hard work, especially when it became clear that the Mayor’s red ceremonial robes could easily be mistaken for Father Christmas by a suitably excited small child.
I have rarely seen so many smiling faces at one time in the centre of Ashford, and my thanks go to all the organisers. Roll on next year’s Carnival.