Liz Hilton is passionate about her community. So much so, that she – and a team of friends – have worked hard to bring back an age-old tradition to Westhouses. This year marked the return of the Westhouses Carnival after 25 years. The event, which included the traditional selection of carnival games such as ‘tin can alley’, tug of war and hook-a-duck, stalls, a parade and much more. Liz, 35, said: “We tried to bring back everything the carnival used to have, as I have been told it was an ‘all-singing, all-dancing’ production. “The only thing we didn’t have this year was an appointed Queen however, I hope that all being well, next year we will. “The event went down really well and was a great day enjoyed by many. We had great involvement from the school children at Westhouses Primary School where I work as a ward hostess, and it really added to the family-friendly feel of the day, there was something for all ages. “It was also opened by the Lord Mayor of Derby, which was a great honour. “I would like to thank everyone who helped, donated, attended and enjoyed the carnival – it made all the hard work worthwhile and we couldn’t have asked for a better day.” Liz took on the challenge of reviving the carnival alongside members of The Friends of Westhouses Primary School and Positive Westhouses Resident Group. The planning started back in January, but it isn’t just the carnival that Liz and the groups have been working toward. They have been working hard since 2012, to bring people together and raise funds for both the school and community. The married mum-of-two said: “Myself and a colleague, Helen Hainsworth, got talking and thought our school would benefit from a Parents and Teachers Association (PTA).
“So we decided to have a cake sale, which turned out to be a great success. From that day on, The Friends of Westhouses Primary School was formed. “We had our first summer fair in 2012 and were nervous that no one was going to come and it would have all been a waste of time. Needless to say this wasn’t the case, we did really well and every year after that we have got bigger and better. “In January we all felt a bit more adventurous and decided to bring the carnival back. So five parents and two staff members united to bring it back for the whole village. The school really is the heart of the community, with many Westhouses residents either going to the school when they were younger, or having their children, or even grandchildren attending it now. It is an amazing school and we wanted to work hard to promote it and bring in funds, when the budgets are tight.
“In the few years we have been going, we have provided new books for the library as well as decorating it, a part of the trim trail, and helped with the cost of school trips so it brought the parents contributions down. I think I can speak for us all when I say the most amazing thing we did was take all the school to the pantomime last year. To see all the children’s faces light up and join in made all the fairs, cake sales and hours we put in 100 per cent worthwhile.
“My official role of the group is chairman, but we all pitch in and without the other ladies, Helen, Pam, and the two Tracys we just wouldn’t function – we all help each other out. “I love what we have managed to achieve so far, but it is by no means over yet. After seeing what a success the carnival was this year, I have plenty of ideas for a bigger and better 2018 carnival, so watch this space!” n For more about the group and upcoming activities, search ‘Friends of Westhouses’ on Facebook.