A loud ‘thank you’ was Carol Watts-Arnold’s signature greeting cry to helpers on Uckfield Carnival day, making sure everyone was doing their best to make the event a great success.
At the Uckfield Bonfire and Carnival Society’s AGM last week, the Society responded with a ‘thank-you’ to Carol as she stepped down as Society secretary after 25 years. Members presented her with gift vouchers and a silver honey pot to add to her collection.
Society spokesman Paul Ireland said: “The Uckfield Carnival is one of the biggest and brightest events in the town and Carol has kept working throughout each year with the Society, sometimes with extremely difficult obstacles to overcome, to raise the money needed and to make all of the arrangements to ensure the town has an event to enjoy. Each year the street collection is donated to worthy causes and during Carol’s time as Secretary she has been involved in distributing well over £70,000 to hundreds of individuals and groups.”
Carol, 47 has bonfire in her blood. She was six months old when she was taken to her first Bonfire - her grandad started with East Hoathly and her dad with Uckfield when he was eight. Her mum’s elder brother is President of the East Hoathly Bonfire Society.
Carol is also closely involved with the Commercial Square Bonfire Society in Lewes. She got engaged to Bert on November 5, 2004 and got married in The Grange on November 5 the following year and held their recetion at the Elephant and Castle. Their little boy Jack was christened at Malling church on November 5.
But Carol’s loyalties stayed firmly with the Uckfield Society.”I think it’s the biggest and best event in the town.”
She assures people that although she’s standing down as Secretary she’s still going to be involved and will be there if anyone needs help.
Carol explained: “I’m so proud of what we’ve done. The Carnival has grown year on year and it doesn’t make any difference whether people are hard pressed for cash. They still donate generously.”
As well as helping out with the Carnival she hopes to spend a little more time with her family.