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Carnival cash helps to make lives better
TO MANY people Witney Carnival is all about having fun with the family. But for others it is much more important – providing funding for life-changing projects.
The annual carnival, which will be staged next month, has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for good causes in its 25 year history, including £12,000 last year alone.
Cash is raised through sponsorship and a raffle and is split between the Witney Rotary Club, Lions, Round Table and Air Training Corps – who jointly organise it.
One of those to benefit has been Freddie Mahony, 34, from Witney.
Fifteen years ago he lost a leg, had his back broken in three places and broke his pelvis in a motorbike accident.
Funds raised at the carnival four years ago allowed him to buy a £3,500 sport wheelchair so he could play basketball. He had picked up a passion for the sport during an eight month recuperation at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
He said: “I am very appreciative and thankful. If I had not had the funding from the Rotary Club then I would not be able to participate in sport and life would be quite bad.
“It is good to get out and about and participate in sport with other people in wheelchairs. It is good for my fitness and emotional well being.”
Mr Mahony now plays for the Milton Keynes Aces and competes alongside disabled basketball Olympians.
Since the donation, the Rotary Club has also paid to replace his chair’s wheels.
Along with Mr Mahony, the fundraising efforts have also raised cash for the likes of Witney youth centre Base 33 and Charlbury charity SpecialEffect, which designs computer games for disabled children.
Witney Rotary Club vice president Ron Spurs said: “The carnival provides young families with the opportunity to have a good afternoon’s entertainment. However, there is also a serious side to it in terms of the funds raised for needy organisations and individuals in the community.”
Witney Carnival takes place on Saturday, July 14, in The Leys and will feature live music, entertainment, stalls and a procession.
There will be displays by the Van Buren Variety Show, Mr Alexander’s Travelling Show, Messy Jam Dance School, a tug of war competition, dog show and donkey derby.
It will begin with a procession through Witney from 11am before being officially opened by television’s ‘Croc Man’ Shaun Foggett, who runs Crocodiles of the World, in Crawley, at 12.15pm.