VOLUNTEERS have stepped in to save Weymouth’s Kite Festival.

The organisers of Weymouth Carnival made the offer at a meeting held by Weymouth and Portland Borough Council.

Mike McManus, trustee of Weymouth Carnival and Events Club, said: “As a trustee of the committee I can say that we will get involved on the condition we get support from experienced advisors.”

He also added that the community group would be interested in taking over the organisation of the town’s famous firework displays.

Residents, business owners and kite enthusiasts attended the meeting at Weymouth Pavilion to look at options for the future of the Kite Festival.

The borough council is reviewing a number of budgets in the light of cuts from central government and axing the festival is set to save them £9,200.

Councillor Ian Bruce, spokesman for tourism and culture, thanked Mr McManus for his ‘welcome’ offer.
He said: “It is a very welcome offer that you are willing to take responsibility of the festival.

“Once we have established an organiser we can work together to find sponsorship for the event.”

He added that although the council has no budget for the festival, officers would be on hand to offer their experienced advice.

Final decisions will not be made until February 2014 but the council decided to hold the discussion in preparation.

The Kite Festival has been organised by the borough council partnered with Close Encounters since 1991 and prior to that by The Kite Society of Great Britain.

Allan and Marilyn Pothecary, of Close Encounters, along with other individuals at the meeting offered their support and help towards the next festival.

Mr Pothecary said: “My role has been to bring the kite flyers together and I would be happy to do that again with the new organisers.”

Mr McManus added that the committee had already approached a number of businesses for sponsorship and wanted to maximise the use of Weymouth Pavilion during the Festival.

Others shared their ideas for the next Kite Festival which included military flags to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War, a show stopping display and plans to increase the number of stalls involved.

Terry Sallows, of Second Wind Watersports, expanding the festival by holding some of it at Bowleaze Cove.

News that Weymouth’s Kite Festival and summer firework events were set to be scrapped next year was revealed in a management committee report in August.

The Festival which began 22 years ago is held annually on May Bank Holiday weekend.

Further details are yet to be discussed between Weymouth Carnival Committee and the borough council.


Committee 'delighted' with business support

WEYMOUTH Carnival and Events Club was formed by volunteers when local Rotary clubs stepped down from carnival organising duties.

Volunteers spent months securing sponsorship and fundraising events to make this year’s carnival a success.

An initial fundraising target of £10,000 was set to get things off the ground, and the committee were delighted when a number of businesses came forward with support.

Mr McManus said they would look at a similar system for the Kite Festival.