AN EAGERLY anticipated carnival will be dedicated to a “larger than life” committee member who sadly died.

This year’s Braintree and Bocking Carnival will be the first of its kind to be staged without the help of Keith Watson.

Mr Watson died in November last year aged 56 and following his death, carnival organisers have decided to dedicate this year’s showpiece to their former colleague, friend and relative.

Chairman Martin Green, who was Mr Watson’s nephew, said his uncle was a larger than life character who made the carnival special.

He said: “It will be an emotional day. The carnival is very much a family-thing and we have relatives coming down from Leeds

to join in so it will be very poignant.

“My uncle was a larger than life character who had pretty much been involved with the carnival for all of his life.

“He was part of the committee and always helping out each year.

“He will be sorely missed by everyone this year because he was such a big part of it.”

Organisers have decided to raise funds in Mr Watson’s memory for the British Heart Foundation and also hope to have a defibrillator installed in his honour at Charles Leeks House in Coggeshall Road.

The theme for this year’s carnival will be “Festival and Celebrations” and proceedings will get underway at 1pm when the procession starts at Lakes Road.

All floats will be judged before they are then driven to Meadowside ahead of the official opening ceremony at 4.30pm.

This year’s carnival queen Holly Cresswell and her two princesses, Alice Baxter and Bonnie Bunch, will announce the start of the event, which will run through until 10pm.

There will be a host of funfair rides available, as well as other entertainment including zumba and a gymnastics display by the Blue Falcons team.

The carnival will be brought to an end by DJ and vocalist Loren Sheppard.

Mr Green says he is hopeful this year’s event will prove to be a success.

He said: “Our main hope is the weather stays nice because everyone has put such a lot of effort in, particularly with the floats which will be ruined if it pours with rain.

“We have been preparing pretty much since last year’s carnival.

“We started setting everything up on Monday so you can see it’s a big operation.

“There’s a lot of good things on offer this year and we have chosen a theme which has given people lots of different ideas.

“The carnival is one of the few community events still running these days so it’s great to see so many people get involved still.”

n Send your carnival pictures to and we will get the best from the day in next week’s paper.