Tributes to Hastings carnival stalwart who worked to promote town

Robert Morgan, right, in 2013 receiving the prestigious Mick Ryan trophy awarded for Spirit of Carnival on behalf of the Nationwide Federation of Independent Carnivals
Robert Morgan, right, in 2013 receiving the prestigious Mick Ryan trophy awarded for Spirit of Carnival on behalf of the Nationwide Federation of Independent Carnivals

A community stalwart, who worked tirelessly for Old Town Carnival Week over many years, has died.

Robert Morgan passed away last Tuesday (August 6) aged 83 after a short illness.

He was chairman of Hastings Old Town Carnival Association for a number of years until 2015.

Robert also made what became known as the Morgan Train, a float designed to look like a steam locomotive, which went to various carnivals and fetes all over the country in aid of charity from 1990 to 2003.

Robert’s son, Andrew, paid tribute to his father this week. He said: “He was a great father and great family man and was always there to help people with the various things he did. He liked to be involved with people.”

Robert was born in Victoria Avenue, Hastings in 1936.

He started work aged 15 at the family business, R E Morgan and Son builders merchants.

Robert later did National Service in 1954, being stationed in Malaya and Singapore. He was demobbed later that year.

Robert and his wife, Margaret tied the knot in 1961 in Hastings and continued to work for the family building firm. His son, Andrew, said: “Dad was always into making things and building something. That all stemmed from him being given a Mercano set when he was a child. He started making motorised go-karts in the early 1970s.

“There used to be an event for the RNLI called the Crazy Boat Race. You would make a float and join the race, which went between the harbour arm and pier. It was well-supported and Dad built his float in 1972 for the race.

“Old Town Carnival Week had recently started and we had the float on the back of one of our trucks. That is where Dad’s involvement with the carnival started.

“He became chairman of the carnival and used to take the Carnival Queens all around Kent and Sussex promoting the town.

“The Morgan Train came about when he was on holiday in Bridport with his wife. They saw a toy train in Woolworths and she said that would make a good float so Dad set about making a replica of it, building the train around one of our small tipper trucks. He drove it to loads of events around the country and the train raised a lot for charity.”

Robert’s funeral is on August 23 at 10.15am at Hastings Crematorium.

He is survived by his wife Margaret, two sons Andrew and Adrian, and four grandsons.

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