Float warning for parade day

ENTRANTS of a popular parade which marks the end of an annual carnival have been warned they will not be allowed to take part unless they have the correct insurance cover.

For the last 89 years, a parade has been held to mark the end of the Hartlepool Carnival.

Starting at the Town Square on the Headland, the parade sees hundreds of people making their way around the main streets in a colourful parade which involves a mixture of vintage cars, motorbikes and floats as well as people in fancy dress walking the route.

But this year, anyone planning on entering a float in the parade has been told they will need to take out Public Liability Cover in case of any accidents.

Natalie Hogg grew up on the Headland has been involved on Parade Day for as long as she can remember.

Now 29, Natalie is part of the organising committee and says people behind the event cannot take the risk of being sued if there is an accident.

Natalie, who lives with partner Peter Howe and their son Jude, five, said: “It’s a shame, but that’s the way it is. It’s all about health and safety.

“I remember as a little girl being with my dance school on the back of the floats.

“There were loads of them, we had jazz bands and all sorts on the back of the flatbed lorries. There were never any problems.

“The numbers of floats has dwindled in the last few years, and it’s all down to the insurance cover.

“Businesses could lend a group a wagon for the afternoon, but the insurance issue is a big concern now so we have had to ask everyone that is taking part with a float this year to take out Public Liability cover.

“It’s a shame, but the Carnival committee is a group of volunteers and we can’t take the risk of someone having an accident as us getting sued for it.”

Cars and bikes taking part in the parade are already covered by general insurance, and while the wagons which are used as floats also have insurance cover, the policy becomes invalid as soon as a passenger gets on the back.

Natalie, a service manager based in Hartlepool, added: “We hope to have a few floats taking part this year, and we hope this Public Liability requirement doesn’t put them off.

“We have event cover insurance as part of what we put on, so we’re in touch with the insurance firm and can point people in the right direction if they need any help or advice.

“But we have to say that any floats taking part must show us they have the correct cover, or they will not be able to take part.”

This year’s parade leaves the Town Square at 4pm on Saturday, August 9, with a day of activities getting underway from 12pm.

Anyone wanting more information about the insurance, or any local businesses who can provide a vehicle to be used as a float, can contact Natalie on 07880234632.