Carnival chief steps down after 21 years

Ian Porter
Ian Porter

THE steady hand guiding Old Town Carnival Week since it began more than two decades ago has stepped down.

Hundreds of people across Hastings collaborate to stage the carnival each year, but 77-year-old Ian Porter, of Martineau Lane, has co-ordinated the festival since the beginning.

“The best thing is always seeing the town enjoy itself,” he said. “And having seen the Old Town come up from being a sleepy looking area to being lively and happening all through the year.”

Carnival week began in the sitting room of Ian’s High Street house in 1990, when a group of Old Town traders brainstormed ideas to tie in with Old Town Week.

He said: “The original idea was to put the High Street on the map, But it’s grown bigger and better than we could ever have imagined.”

The original programme, a single A3 sheet, has expanded into this year’s 64-page booklet. But recently, the red tape has spiralled, and for 2012 Ian will be replaced by a dedicated team. And from two decades of memories, Ian’s highlight is something more recent.

“Pirate Day. We were just trying to fill our Friday slot, when along came Roger Crouch. We never dreamed it would take off like this.”