Carnival Mardi Gras: Brownhills Style!

Carnival 1989 – Miriam Downes, John Garfield, Sylvia Myatt, Cecil Matthews, Ruth Holden, Sindy Walker, Lisa Ashby (nee Downes), Susan Mallett

Earlier in the week, talented, longstanding contributor Lisa Ashby promised to send in some material about the entries of the B-CASS Disabled Centre into Brownhills Carnival in the late 80s and 90s – good to her word, Lisa has done just that and I can share them with you now.

Lisa of course sent in the wonderful footage of Reg Morris eating daffodils and also undertook the remarkable photo restoration for reader Janet I posted yesterday.

We have surprisingly little material relating to local carnivals – we have the early Pritchard footage of course, so wonderfully lit up by Great Grandfather of the blog Aer Reg Fullelove, and the stunning gallery by Peter Booth, but not much else.

This is a wonderful addition from Lisa, for which I’m very grateful indeed.

If you can add to it, or have any other material you’d like to share, I’d love to see it. Comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks!

Lisa Ashby wrote:

Hi Bob,

I volunteered at the B-CASS Disabled Centre from it’s creation in September 1988 until it closed on July 4th 2016. During our early days we had several entries in the Brownhills Carnival.

Our first was in 1989 when the theme was The Circus. We made our own costumes and wigs which were cunningly crafted from a few pair of tights and wool. Unfortunately there were just 3 entries, 2 floats and us walking the whole route. I don’t know how our members managed it but they did.

!992: Carnival Mardi Gras Brownhills Style.

Our second entry (which I believe was 1992) was called Mardi Gras Brownhills Style. All the costumes and decorations we made by our members under the close supervision of my mum, Miriam Downes. We even made bright coloured wigs for some of the kids, which were salvaged from the 1989 carnival.

Newspaper clippings of the day, kindly supplied by Lisa Ashby. Click for larger versions.

Sometimes we stayed till late in the evening making flowers and assembling decorations to go on the float. My mum sat for hours at home cutting purple and white net which she sewed into flowers for the back drop that was attached to the back of the cab. We raided our members christmas decorations for tinsel and anything that would sparkle.

Carnival 1992 – David Capewell (pretending to be Animal from the Muppets), Sylvia Myatt, Me

My mum’s genius knew no bounds – she had us cut up egg boxes (the bits where the eggs sit) and we wrapped them in quality street wrappers to look like bells, which we hung every where on the float to catch the light. We managed to get an old rubbish bin which we spray painted and David Capewell sat behind it at the back of our float and pretended to play it. I can’t remember where we came, but a good time was had by all. I have included a couple of news paper clippings which show myself and Susan Capewell, the other showing Gary Capewell and Stephanie & Michelle McCabe.

Part 2 to follow shortly, all the best,


Carnival 1992 – David Capewell, Sylvia Myatt, Kathy Price, Susan Capewell, John Garfield

Carnival 1992 – David Capewell, Miriam Downes, Sylvia Myatt

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