Lifeline for the carnival

PUBLISHED: 16:14 07 June 2007 | UPDATED: 12:32 04 May 2010

CARNIVAL LIFELINE: Sarah Dowd and Colin Fordham join forces to boost weakened carnival coffers.

CARNIVAL LIFELINE: Sarah Dowd and Colin Fordham join forces to boost weakened carnival coffers.

SOHAM businesswoman Sarah Dowd has thrown a lifeline to the town s carnival and hatched a plan to save its charity cash. Torrential rain washed out the carnival on Bank Holiday Monday leaving the organisers with a £10,000 hole in their pockets. Now Sarah

SOHAM businesswoman Sarah Dowd has thrown a lifeline to the town's carnival and hatched a plan to save its charity cash.

Torrential rain washed out the carnival on Bank Holiday Monday leaving the organisers with a £10,000 hole in their pockets.

Now Sarah, who runs Fordham-based marketing agency Black Orchid Marketing, has promised to hand over all the money raised from a series of training workshops to the carnival's charity fund.

"I would normally go to the Soham Carnival because I am quite partial to the heavy horses," said managing director, Sarah, "but this year, because it was raining so heavily, I made other plans. I just assumed it had been called off.

"When I heard it had gone ahead I felt so sorry for the children and I thought it was important for us to do something to help."

Black Orchid Marketing's workshops begin on Thursday, July 12 and will be held each month with the last one taking place on Tuesday, December 4.

They will offer business advice such as communications and promotions planning, marketing on a budget and e-marketing and websites.

It is hoped at least 10 people will sign up to each workshop, bringing in a total of £1,500 for the carnival charities.

Sarah also hopes other companies will follow her lead and help to boost the carnival fund, which usually allows organisers to hand over up to £7,000 to local charities including Soham's Guides and Scouts.

Carnival organisers already have to dip into their reserves to cover a £2,500 deficit in their running expenses after the carnival disaster.

"The Soham Carnival and community as a whole play a massive role in supporting local charities and improving the entire region in general," added Canadian-born Sarah, who has lived in the town since 2005 and is a member of the adult section of the Viva Youth Theatre.

"This commitment to the betterment of the area is a vital part of modern East Anglian life, which in turn encourages people to invest in the area, build homes, raise families, start businesses and value their role in making this area great."

The carnival suffered huge losses when torrential rain and biting winds kept visitors away.

Only seven floats turned up, vintage car owners stayed away, only one vintage tractor took part and ice-cream sellers and the organisers of the hog roast gave up and went home.

Carnival president Colin Fordham said: "It was the worst carnival in terms of the weather in my 47 years on the committee.

"I was so saddened. We would normally give away around £7,000 to charity. It's lovely to see the children's faces when they come to accept their charity money. These charities rely on the money from the carnival.

"Black Orchid Marketing's effort is a brilliant idea and greatly appreciated. We hope other businesses will be inspired by their generosity as any money we receive will help us a lot.

"But we won't be beaten. We will get up, dust ourselves down and the carnival will be back next year."

The workshops will be held at Black Orchid Marketing's head office, in Fordham, from 10am-1pm. Each workshop costs £30 per person or £25 if booking more than three people.

Pre-booking is required and businesses interested in finding out more should contact the company on 01638 724 157 or by e-mail at mick@blackorchidmarketing.com

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