West Leeds: ‘Show will go on’ after death of carnival boss

Terence Knapton and Helen Garrand.
Terence Knapton and Helen Garrand.
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He was the Bramley stalwart who almost single-handedly revived a century-old community festival.

And now friends of Terrence Knapton, the chairman of Bramley Carnival, have vowed to ensure the show will go on after his sudden death.

Mr Knapton, who was in his 50s, was the chair, chief organiser and driving force behind the annual gala. He had spent his last days preparing for the 2014 event on July 20.

He had been recovering from a recent illness when he passed away suddenly. His funeral was held on July 2 in Rawdon.

Just a few weeks earlier, Mr Knapton had appealed through the pages of the Yorkshire Evening Post for public help to save this year’s event after National Lottery funding was not renewed.

Mr Knapton and his partner Helen Garrand, who have organised the event together for many years, were planning to make this year their last, before passing on the role to others.

Speaking earlier this year, Mr Knapton said: “The smiles on people’s face on carnival day - it does mean a lot.”

Ms Garrand said: “The carnival meant everything to Terry. He would want the carnival to continue and that is what we are going to do.”

Lee Ingham, treasurer for Bramley Carnival, added: “The Carnival Committee are right behind Helen’s decision for the carnival to continue. The acts, marquees, stages and Lord Mayor are all booked. The show goes on. Organising future carnivals without Terrence will be a challenge, but we plan to meet after the carnival to see what we can do.”

Bramley Carnival started in 1865 and was restarted by Mr Knapton in 2007 after decades in the wilderness.

Mr Knapton was also involved in Bramley in Bloom and ran a community radio station, West Leeds Radio. He and Ms Garrand were also instrumental in the first Bramley Christmas lights last year, and have founded a successful local music festival.

Mr Knapton was also known as Lord Terrence Knapton of Glencoe, after buying the title last year to help raise the profile of his community work.

Coun Ted Hanley, who represents the Bramley ward on Leeds city council, said: “Bramley was very important to him and the carnival was his life.

“He will be missed.”