LAST week we shared with you the changes to the Miss Dorchester contest in the 1987 carnival, when the emphasis shifted from beauty to personality. Rewind five years to the carnival of 1982 and the competition couldn’t be more different.

Carnival Queen Avril Taylor, described as ‘delectable’, adorns the front page of the 1982 carnival programme, posing in a bikini. Further pictures of bikini-clad contestants are littered throughout the paper, including one of attendant Debbie Cadwell dressed in an Israeli swimsuit donated by Plumes.

The junior Miss Dorchester competition also made a debut in the year 1982, with nine-year-old Michaela Joyce beating 14 other entrants to be crowned the young carnival queen.

New also was the close involvement of The Dorchester County Post, which produced the special carnival edition. Circulating throughout Dorset, the paper was covering all the big exclusives, local news and best pictures, selling editions for just 10p.

Peter Hazelton, the press officer of the carnival committee, said: “We welcome The Post as a new and valuable force in town and we have been overwhelmed with the efforts you have made on our behalf to make this year’s carnival go with a real swing. We hope that this carnival newspaper will be a permanent fixture on carnival day.”

Tucked within the pages of the programme is a throwback to the first ever proper carnival in 1928. The event was raising funds for an ambulance to be driven by Jack the porter-handyman, and the borough gardens in Dorchester were illuminated by candles placed in coloured glass jars by boys from the Boy’s Brigade and local scouts. Unfortunately, no photographs from this carnival seem to have survived.

Some pictures have, however, been discovered of the 1934 carnival, a particularly notable year for it marked the centenary of the Tolpuddle Martyrs. The event was organised by trade unions and lasted for an entire week, including brass band performances, sporting events and competitions in addition to the main procession. Dorset country folk performed a play called Six Men of Dorset, which proved such a success that a further three showings were planned for the following week.

Going back to 1982, the marvellous Majorettes made a welcomed appearance in the procession. Eight teams from across Dorset, including Puddletown, Bridport and Boscombe, also took part in a vast display competition with a £30 cash prize up for grabs. Other events of Carnival Day included a ram roast following the main parade and dancing scheduled from 8.30pm until midnight, featuring displays of Israeli moves.

In the annual message from the Mayor of Dorchester, Trevor Jones shared his hopes for the carnival, which he believed was “undoubtedly one of the highspots of the local year.” He went on to thank the Round Table, but predominantly praised the spirit of the community.

Readers are also treated to a message from the Carnival Queen herself, who described the Miss Dorchester contest as an evening with “all the splendour of a top-class beauty contest.”

Miss Taylor added: “My two attendants, Debbie and Tracey, together with myself, are looking forward to a fun day, but not forgetting that this is a charitable event, we will undertake our duties with this in mind.”

Closing the carnival programme, a range of pictures are featured depicting the Miss Dorchester contestants. All 16 entrants were treated to a complimentary portrait sitting courtesy of Fotografik 7, with local companies including Plumes Boutique, Wessex Hotel and Tudor Gift Shop donating props and outfits.

Finally, on the back page of the programme, amidst the adverts for living room furniture and Devenish Bitter, is a competition that really shows its age: readers are in with a shot of winning six months of free colour television from Radio Rentals. How times have changed.