Eastbourne’s Carnival Queen and Princess have been named as Natasha Bellham-Occard and Ellie Blackford.
They were chosen in the Herald’s search for carnival royalty by a panel of judges this week.
This year’s search attracted a record number of entries.
Eighteen-year-old Natasha was nominated by her grandmother Rose Wattis.
Rose said, “Natasha attends college and works at Tesco in Lottbridge Drove as a cashier.
“I know I am biased but she is beautiful and has a heart of gold.
“She studies, works and helps care for her mother and visits and cares for her 92-year-old great grandmother whom she adores.
“She pays netball and keeps fit at the gym and will be running this month for charity with a team from Tesco.”
Six-year-old Ellie is a pupil at Motcombe School and was nominated by her mother Suzanne Blackford.
The two will lead the carnival procession taking place this year on Saturday May 30 along Eastbourne seafront.
They will wear dresses supplied by Claire de Lune in South Street and have their hair done at Saint’s Salon in Station Street on the day of the carnival.
Herald reporter Annemarie Field, who leads the search for the carnival royalty, said, “We had a record number of entries this year for young ladies wishing to be carnival royalty and the response was overwhelming.
“The judges had a very difficult task but we are delighted for Ellie and Natasha who will have a wonderful day and play an important part in the carnival celebrations.
“We also want to thank everyone who entered and took the time to send photographs in.”
The finishing touches are now being put to this year’s seafront extravaganza which has a Victorian Eastbourne theme this year.
More than 25,000 spectators are expected to cheer the 50-plus floats and 1,500 walkers along the seafront.
The procession starts at Holywell at 4pm and works its way down the seafront finishing at Princes Park.
Legal & General, owner of the Arndale Centre, has announced it will be the main sponsor of the Sunshine Carnival for the third year.
Pageant master Dave Cooper said this week, “We are now into our fourth year since returning after a gap of 15 years. I just know this year’s event will be our best ever.”
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