WHen Arthur France set up the Leeds West Indian Carnival he wanted it to be a celebration of the culture and history of the Caribbean which he had left behind.
“After an uphill struggle, the first Leeds West Indian Carnival was held in August 1967 and was the first formally organized authentic Caribbean carnival in Europe,” he says. “For me it wasn’t about being the first. It was about bringing people of all races together and sharing Caribbean culture as widely as possible.”
Next weekend hundreds of thousands will be in Chapeltown for the event. This year there has been an extra police presence in the area and a lot of planning and preparation involving the police, Leeds City Council and the event organisers to keep people safe following two shootings in the last two years.
In any large gathering of people there is a risk of crime, but is to the credit of all involved that this issue is tackled head-on and planned for. Superintendent Jo Morgan, who heads Neighbourhood Policing for the Leeds District, sums it up: “It has been very clear that local people support our ongoing efforts to tackle the criminal minority whose actions can have such a negative impact on their lives, and we will keep doing everything we can maintain that support throughout the Carnival weekend and beyond.” The few should not be allowed to spoil the day for the many.
University honour for Leeds West Indian Carnival Founder - read article here