Kettering Carnival float crash sparks anger over endangered children

An image taken during Kettering Carnival
An image taken during Kettering Carnival

Carnival organisers have said they are investigating an incident which threatened the safety of 50 children who were on a float when their vehicle collided with a large overhanging branch.

The youngsters were on the Starlight Dance float during the Kettering Carnival procession on Saturday when it is reported that the lorry hit the bough of a tree which broke off directly above the children.

Eyewitness Adrian Gardiner recounted what he saw on the carnival organisers’ Facebook page, saying: “As I approached I could see the crack in the branch from the opposite side to where the lorry hit. The driver went to reverse only for the branch to be caught between the cab and the float. At this point myself and several other parents gestured and shouted for the driver to stop and not move. At this point we then shouted for the children to be taken off the float as soon as possible. I stood on one side of the tree trying to divert people from walking under the branch while someone did the same from the other side.”

He added: “I was stood next to that branch at one point and I can honestly say if it had fallen on someone it would have had serious consequences.”

Jacc Batch, owner of Starlight Dance, said he was angry with the organisers of the carnival who he claimed should have foreseen the potential dangers along the route. He said he wanted an apology but would not enter his school into the parade next year.

A message issued by the carnival organisers read: “On behalf of Kettering and District Amalgamated Clubs Committee for the Blind we would like to issue a statement regarding the regrettable incident that happened at the end of Kettering Carnival. We are dealing with this through the appropriate channels and have checked all our legal responsibilities to the public. Our road closures were passed by Kettering Borough Council in a letter dated 3rd July 2013 and this covers the whole route including the roads adjacent to Rockingham Road Park.

“As soon as we were informed about this, members of the team were sent to investigate and assist. As far as we were concerned the appropriate people were contacted to deal with this matter. Fortunately no-one was injured during this and we will do our utmost to ensure there is not a repeat of this unfortunate incident.”