All the community should join in the Eastbourne Carnival

The news is building gradually of one of those events we can all look forward to again in the town: the Eastbourne Carnival, to be held on Saturday, May 25.

It is invigorating to know that something once so traditional in the town has been reinstated.

It is an occasion that can draw us all together.

Because of that inducement to cohesiveness, one looks forward to all involved presenting evidence of that very aim.

Unfortunately, last year’s carnival showed signs of certain groups being less interested in pursuing the theme of community than in self-interest.

I refer to the organisations representing ethnic minorities.

Bringing up the rear was a float waving the flag of the Eastbourne Cultural Communities Network. Another was one declaring itself the African-Caribbean Progressive Group. One stood on the pavement wondering what it was they had to progress other than their own perpetuation.

We have some fine examples of people of other cultures in Eastbourne working for the good of the community which they have elected to embrace.

The Herald of March 1 reported one such example: how the K2 Indian Restaurant on the A22 had hosted a charity night in aid of St Wilfrid’s Hospice.

For another, the paper’s guest columnist on 1 February, Sheikh Abid Gulzar, wrote movingly of his pleasure to be living and working in Eastbourne, a place enriched by its beauty.

‘Our seafront remains one of our greatest assets’, he said. ‘I feel so proud each day when I go for my early morning walk of what we have to offer.’

He also wrote of his pride to be working with a number of local charities including the Sussex Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (SASBAH).

In addition we now hear of the Cub Nursery he is inaugurating, application for which will be open to all children of the community.

We could do with a lot more of such an approach, rather than the encouragement of a determinedly separatist Black History Month and similar events.

The ethnic minorities had a golden opportunity in recent times to embrace the cause of the Save the DGH Campaign, which despite the latest news is not over yet.

But throughout the march along the seafront last September and the gathering at the Wish Tower, as I moved around the vast crowds, I counted on one hand the number of enthusiasts for the cause from the ethnic minority groups.

A similar showing proved the case with the Town Hall meeting of 400 when we were invited to join the canvassers for the mass petition.

The Carnival provides them with the perfect chance to get away from their exclusiveness and show their true community spirit.

We are told the theme this year is Sussex By The Sea.

I suggest they forget about perpetuating their own cultures and attach themselves to one or other of the Eastbourne groups and organisations.

If they cannot find one, they could do what I did during the 1960s around the carnivals of Essex: pick up one of the provided buckets and walk the route collecting money for the several charities that benefit therefrom.

Edward Thomas,

Collington Close,

Eastbourn