Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Community Spirit - Arthur France MBE

Meanwhile, back to the Carnival. This picture is of Arthur France, the founder of the event, with two friends. We haven't a record of who he's with or which year of the Carnival the photograph was taken, so, if he or any of his friends read this, please let us know. There's an interview with him on this site, so I'll let him speak for himself.

Arthur believed that the West Indians, scattered across the country, “needed something to bind us together as people of the Caribbean”. By 1967 the first truly Caribbean carnival in the country, under a black British committee, took place in Leeds. It celebrated its Snow, or carnival queen, danced to the Gay Carnival Steel Band and entertained the city with its procession of fantastic troupes.

In 2009 it's estimated that over 150,000 people attended the three day event which takes place in Chapeltown and Harehills over the August Bank Holiday weekend every year.

In 1997 Arthur France was awarded the MBE for his work with the local community.

The embroidery was hand stitched by Sheila Exley and Jean Nichols on printed fabric (26 hours).

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