A HOST of sparkling parades and community celebrations have brought people together this weekend in Leeds.
An estimated 10,000 people ventured out for Pudsey Carnival this year – a celebration which dates back to 1898 – while thousands more enjoyed the 206th Otley Show on Saturday.
In Pudsey entertainers including the Battling Cumberland Giants and the Jez Avery Stunt Show wowed hordes of locals during the carnival’s 40minute parade as crowds gathered at Queens Park for a variety of stalls and attractions.
Ken Downing, a Pudsey pensioner who suffered three heart attacks in September 2010, was part of a nine-man team that cycled the 200mile ‘Pudsey to Paddington Bear’ static bike challenge during the event in aid of the carnival’s charity of the year, the British Heart Foundation.
The 70-year-old grandfather said: “We managed it in four and a half hours, it was a fantastic day. We’ve got sore legs and sore bums but we all enjoyed it.”
It is thought that around £1,000 was raised for the charity in total, while other charities such as Marie Curie Cancer Care and Asda’s Tickled Pink campaign were boosted during collections.
The annual parade float competition was won by First Pudsey Brownies this year, meaning they took home a £1,000 prize donated by Pudsey Business Support Group.
Simon Seary, carnival committee chair, said: “Everybody got involved in the community spirit of the event and the feedback we’ve received shows everybody enjoyed it.
“The parade was fantastic and the best we’ve ever had and the stall numbers showed the best turnout we’ve had for a long time.”
He added that he now hopes to get involved in a £10,000 fundraising campaign to pay for Pudsey’s Christmas lights and reinstate an annual parade before planning for next year’s carnival gets underway.
In Otley a loyal contingent of beef, dairy and sheep farmers competed in the show rings, which this year saw record entries in the sheep section.
Sheep section chairman, Nicholas Houseman, of Lindley near Otley, has been involved in the show for more than 40 years, and was buoyed by the quality of livestock.
“We’ve had over 400 sheep this year – 50 more than last year, even though it’s been a tough time,” he said.