Gurning in memory of Popeye Ron

Hastings Old Town Carnival Week: Gurning Competition. Photo by Roberts Photographic SUS-180608-070008001
Hastings Old Town Carnival Week: Gurning Competition. Photo by Roberts Photographic SUS-180608-070008001

People were pulling a funny face during Old Town Carnival Week and its wasn’t because they were not enjoying the celebrations.

A gurning competition is one of the most recent additions to carnival events.

Hastings Old Town Carnival Week: Gurning Competition. Photo by Roberts Photographic SUS-180608-065928001

Hastings Old Town Carnival Week: Gurning Competition. Photo by Roberts Photographic SUS-180608-065928001

It made its debut last year when carnival committee members Keith and Heather Leech had the brilliant idea of the competition in memory of local legend Ron Everett, who was known to everyone as ‘Popeye’.

Ron resembled and dressed like the iconic cartoon sailor and delighted visitors to the town by posing for pictures.

Sadly Ron passed away last summer, aged 86, following a battle with cancer, shortly after the Pirate Day celebrations, which he took part in.

Last year’s gurning competition raised £905 pounds which to help pay for Ron’s funeral costs, which was topped up by the Hastings Winkle Club.

Hastings Old Town Carnival Week: Gurning Competition. Photo by Roberts Photographic SUS-180608-065918001

Hastings Old Town Carnival Week: Gurning Competition. Photo by Roberts Photographic SUS-180608-065918001

Now an annual event, the competition takes place at Reeves Corner, in the High Street.

Contestants wear sailor hats in memory of Ron and are framed by a nautical life-ring as they make their best efforts to pull a gurning face,

Those taking part in this year’s competition, held last Friday, included current Hastings Mayor Cllr Nigel Sinden and Deputy Mayor Cllr James Bacon.

Also taking part were last year’s Mayor Cllr Judy Rogers and this year’s Carnival Sea Queen Monica Bane.

Hastings Old Town Carnival Week: Gurning Competition. Photo by Roberts Photographic SUS-180608-065858001

Hastings Old Town Carnival Week: Gurning Competition. Photo by Roberts Photographic SUS-180608-065858001

The award for the best gurn went to Malcolm Sharp.

Paying tribute to his friend Ron Everett last year, Sid Saunders said: ““I knew Ron for many years. He was a character in the town and did a lot of work for charity in the past. He was a member of the Winkle Club, involved in loads of events for charity.”

Former naval man Ron was also involved in the famous Morgan’s Train, a big train with lights, which visited carnivals around the country, collecting money for good causes.

Sid added: “Visitors came from all over every year to take pictures of Ron as Popeye. “He was part and parcel of Hastings Old Town Carnival and everyone knew him as Popeye. He was so good with people and never turned away when people wanted to take pictures. “Ron was an asset to Hastings and always promoted the town.”

Hastings Old Town Carnival Week: Gurning Competition. Photo by Roberts Photographic SUS-180608-065828001

Hastings Old Town Carnival Week: Gurning Competition. Photo by Roberts Photographic SUS-180608-065828001

Hastings Old Town Carnival Week: Gurning Competition. Photo by Roberts Photographic SUS-180608-070019001

Hastings Old Town Carnival Week: Gurning Competition. Photo by Roberts Photographic SUS-180608-070019001