Twenty five years ago in 1994,  the Basingstoke Carnival was in full swing.

Information supplied by Debbie Reavell, of the Basingstoke Historical Society, shows the Carnival began life as the Hospital Carnival in the 1940s.

According to programmes, which were very kindly donated to me by Jo Davidson,  the town carnival evolved in the early 1950s.  If any of you know the exact date, please let me know. 

But, 1994 was a significant carnival, although at the time nobody knew it, for 1994 was to be the last ever Basingstoke Carnival.

Funding from advertisers and various other reasons were blamed for its demise.

My carnival era was the 1980s and early 1990s. 

The first Saturday was always the children’s procession  which started at Eastrop Park, went up Eastrop Lane and into the Memorial Park. 

Many celebrities of the day performed opening duties including musician Alvin Stardust, Jon Pertwee as Worzel Gummidge, Keith Chegwin, and Timmy Mallet.

During the week, there were always entertainment like local musical acts, Tug of war, darts, karaoke and dog displays.

Then on the following Thursday, the town came alive for the annual procession. The route was longer than the Children's Procession and wound round the town, eventually ending up in the Memorial Park main arena. 

It was the biggest carnival in the south.

Back then no-one batted an eyelid if you were hit in the face with a stray penny destined for the collection bucket. Flour and water pistols were also in abundance. The Health and safety police would have that stopped nowadays.

The final day was always billed as the Saturday Spectacular.  This included stunt teams, dog displays and the arrival of the Red Devils who would fall from the skies of Basingstoke and into the centre of the Memorial Park.  This all culminated in a huge fireworks display around 10pm.

Like many others in Basingstoke, I am sad that the carnival is no more.  Times have changed and if it did make a return it would not be as spectacular as it's heyday. 

You can get involved with Flashback Thursday.  Send photos to or by post to Flashback Thursday, Gazette House, Pelton Road Basingstoke RG21 6XD.