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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 August, 2004, 07:50 GMT 08:50 UK
Spirited away from carnival
By Alison Freeman
BBC News Online, London

Carnival crowd
Organisers say they do their best to keep disturbances down
Music, people and the smell of food and drink fill the streets of west London for the Notting Hill Carnival every year.

But, according to Kensington and Chelsea Council, it is not everyone's cup of tea with some of the area's older residents overwhelmed by the enormity of the event.

So this year they are whisking 40 people away to stay at a Butlins holiday camp in Bognor Regis over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Alice Marshall, 64, and her husband Darnley, 70, have lived in Weston Park Road for 40 years.

To be quite honest they could take us anywhere as long as it's away from London
Resident Alice Marshall
Mrs Marshall remembers the first carnival but finds the huge numbers of people that swarm to the event nowadays too much to cope with.

She told BBC News Online: "There are so many strangers in this area during carnival and it's so noisy with the sound systems that the whole house shakes. It's quite stressful.

"When it first started it was just one lorry taking the children around but now it has got so big."

Mrs Marshall says being given the chance to get out of Notting Hill during carnival is "absolutely wonderful".

"To be quite honest they could take us anywhere as long as it's away from London," she said.

Three-night break

"You always get people knocking on the doors wanting to have some water, or warm their baby's milk up or use your toilet, but you just can't have strangers wondering around your house.

"I think it would be better to put carnival in a big park, like Party in the Park. Then people wouldn't be so squashed together and would be able to see more."

Councillor David Campion said that although the three-night break is being paid for by the council this year, they want carnival sponsors to cover the cost in future.

The council is stumping up 13,000 for the transport and accommodation but those attending have to provide their own spending money.

Butlins stage
Butlins says the visitors will be able to have a relaxing time
Mr Campion said: "In the past people have been shot and killed which has given carnival a bad name and sponsors have disappeared as they don't want to be associated with it.

"Thanks to the police we haven't had anything like that for a number of years so I think the sponsors will come back and provide more finance."

Mr Campion said the trip was a way of making amends with the locals whose streets host the event.

He said: "It's not the people living on the route who suffer but those who are in the middle of it where the sound systems are. Not only do you get the noise from the system but you also get large groups of people around it.

"The idea has been around for many years and it started because the roads were packed and the meals on wheels couldn't get through to help those who are vulnerable."

'Symbol of multiculturalism'

Chris Mullard, chairman of the London Notting Hill Carnival LTD, said the trip showed support for the carnival as well as care for the borough's older residents.

He said organisers tried to keep disturbance down to a minimum during the weekend.

Mr Mullard explained: "What we hope is that the weekend, the music and its multicultural impact have a long-term effect in the area, making it more tolerant, more aware of different traditions and more attractive to people wishing to come to live in the area.

"So as long as adequate provision is made for those who wish to leave the area during the weekend, the carnival must be seen as a major symbol of multiculturalism for Notting Hill and beyond."

A Butlins spokeswoman said the visitors will be able to relax over the weekend in Bognor Regis.

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