Well, it was worth the wait! After two years’ enforced absence, Farnham Carnival 2022’s celebration of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee last Saturday proved to be an event fully worthy of such a glorious and spectacular achievement.

Apart from a short shower before the parade, the weather gods too played their part in making sure everyone enjoyed themselves.

Gostrey Meadow Fayre was packed for most of the day and thousands lined the town-centre streets to cheer on the parade entrants, with their noisy and colourful displays reflecting so many aspects of the past 70 years of the Queen’s reign.

To celebrate the return of Farnham Carnival, the Herald has published no fewer than 20 pages of photos from this year’s jubilee-ant event in this Thursday’s paper – on sale for just £1 in shops across the area.

Carnival chairman Graham Noakes said: “We have spent each of the past two years starting to prepare for Farnham’s annual carnival, before having to abandon plans because of the continuing pandemic, so it has been an absolute joy to see the planning right through this year and watch so many people enjoying themselves again, as participants and spectators.

“And it was all captured for posterity by David Fisher and fellow members of the Aldershot, Farnham and Fleet Camera Club.”

Farnham town mayor Councillor Alan Earwaker opened the Gostrey Meadow Fayre at 2pm which was immediately back to its usual vibrant self, with lots of food, drink and a variety of other stalls.

And with children’s performers keeping the young families occupied throughout the afternoon, there was something for everyone.

The usual high quality of musical entertainment too was on show, made possible by the skills and expertise of Barry Coggar and his experienced back-stage team.

Starting with the Missy Nelson Band, the show continued with Jungle Brew, Rattling Catflaps and Rough Mix, all on great form. And, as ever, Brobed Stills, featuring local legend Brodie Mauluka, brought the show to a close – and the house down – with their popular, upbeat sound.

Though with fewer floats than in some previous years, the parade lacked for nothing in spectacle, with participating schools, youth groups, clubs, bands and other entrants thrilling the crowds with the scale of their imagination, effort and enthusiasm in reflecting this year’s regal theme.

And who could not have been impressed by the sheer presence of carnival sponsor Farnborough Airport’s mighty fire tender!

Parade chairman Chris Wilson said: “We were also especially delighted we could end the procession with a large group of Ukrainian families and their local Farnham support groups, who received a hugely warm and positive response from all those lining the streets.

“At the Upper Hart car park we were also grateful to Farnham Baptist Church for providing loos and refreshments for the participants free of charge.”

Once the parade was under way, spectators were their usual generous selves, filling the buckets – and this year tapping electronic collecting devices! –  with all the money collected to be shared by the charities, schools and youth groups taking part.

Such huge events do not just happen, of course, and in opening the day’s events the mayor thanked Farnham Lions and Farnham Hedgehogs in particular for all their efforts in putting on such a great show for everyone.

“Yet in some ways this is just the tip of the organisational iceberg,” said Graham.

“The carnival committee and our fayre and parade working groups receive support in so many ways from local organisations and individuals, both on carnival day itself and throughout the previous months’ planning, without which carnival just could not happen.

“ATC 229 Squadron provided invaluable help throughout the day in Gostrey Meadow, for example. In the parade, too, all sorts of different and essential support was provided by Ahmadiyya Youth Organisation, Farnham and Frensham Guides and Summit Scout Network, as well as many other individuals, to whom we are hugely grateful.

“Equally, Hampshire & Berkshire 4x4 Response did a magnificent job in manning road closures and ensuring the safety of the whole parade, effectively and unobtrusively.”

In advance, essential financial and logistical assistance was provided by principal sponsors Marshels Painting and Refurbishment Contractors and Vale Furnishings, together with gold sponsors Farnham Estates and Farnham Institute Charity.

Silver sponsors included BakerLaw, BBS, Crest Nicholson, Elphicks, Farnborough Airport, Farnham Chamber of Commerce, Farnham Estates, Farnham Town Council, Squires Garden Centres, Surrey County Council, Tindle Newspapers, Weyfest and Wise & Co, joined this year for the first time by A&D Car Care Farnham, Biffa, the Botanist, Highlight Tanning & Beauty and The Lost Boy.

John Beer, the Gostrey Meadow Fayre chairman and head of sponsorship, said: “Particular mention should be made of the support provided by the Farnham Town Council team throughout what at times has been an especially complex and challenging planning process, in enabling us to successfully kick-start the event after a two-year absence.

“Biffa, too, provided valuable support in providing 50 high-quality bins and clearing both Gostrey Meadow and the parade route quickly and effectively. And, finally, thanks to The Lost Boy, who generously offered to host the mayoral reception in the afternoon.”

Bringing the evening’s events to a close in Gostrey Meadow, Graham added: “The greatest thanks, however, must go to the many thousands of people who turned out to support the fayre and parade today.

“Having made it such a success, we look forward to getting back together and enjoying Carnival 2023!”

Parade results

Best in Show: Badshot Lea Infant School

Henry Liu Trophy: Potters Gate School

Wise & Co Trophy: Highfield South Farnham School

Other Winners

Gold Award

  • Tootsie Nursery
  • St Polycarps School
  • Abbeyfield Wey Valley
  • Ukraine (Farnham Homes For Ukraine/Farnham Stands with Ukraine)
  • Rural Life Centre
  • Old Basing Band
  • Farnham Brass Band
  • Stellar Gymnastics

Silver Award

  • St Andrew’s School
  • William Cobbett School
  • South Farnham School
  • Rowledge School
  • Jubilee Church (right)
  • Farnham Zumba
  • Sailability