TAVISTOCK Carnival will be breaking with tradition this year — and moving with the times — as the role of Carnival Princess and her female attendants is replaced by young ambassadors of both sexes.
The Lions Club of Tavistock, which organises the carnival each July, indicated that the move, which is understood to be suppported by the schools in the town, was felt to be long overdue.
Alan Wroath, spokesman for the Tavistock Lions, said: ‘I’ve been in education for 40 years and that is why it matters for me. This is a role that has a bit more substance.
‘We have been uncomfortable for some time that in these days of gender equality, we are not including opportunities for boys.
‘We also feel that the roles of princess and attendants do not actively involve young people in the Carnival Week beyond being paraded at the different events.
‘We are therefore going to look instead for four Lions’ young ambassadors to have a wider role. We want to involve them in deciding what they wear and what they would like to do in Carnival Week, especially at Fun Day and in the procession. But we would also like them to be involved with Lions for some of our other events throughout the year especially at Christmas.
‘We want to encourage them to come up with their own ideas which we will support and help them develop. We know how creative and imaginative young people can be!’
Speaking in the past week, he said that the callout for young people in Year 6 at school – ten and 11-year-olds in their last year at primary school – had been encouraging, with a number of young people coming forward by last Friday’s deadline.
Lions members are in the process of making contact with them, and the names of the new ambassadors will be revealed in the coming weeks.
‘It is about reflecting the changes in the times and giving the boys the opportunity to be doing something similar and getting involved in decisions, how they would like to dress and organise themselves for the procession,’ added Alan.
‘The princess was obviously a role where they were part of the procession, they were part of a fun day, but they didn’t have a say, and some of the young peole want to know about how they raise money for charity, so we are thinking of involving them in raising money and they will choose the charity they support.’