THE gamble of changing the date of Devizes Carnival paid off on Saturday night when schools turned out in force to support the procession.

As the sun shone and crowds lined the streets there was a true feeling of community spirit in the air.

Traditionally the carnival parade was held at the beginning of September but the number of schools taking part had dropped off and it was decided to move the procession to the end of the summer term.

Leading the parade from The Green was a giant puppet of Neanderthal woman affectionately known as Beryl and a troop of children urging people to save the mammoth.

Loz Samuels, artistic director of Devizes Outdoor Celebratory Arts, who helped operate Beryl on her journey around town, said: "It is fantastic. I am so excited about the way it has all come together. The schools have been fantastic."

The theme for the carnival was Through The Ages and every era from prehistoric times through the the 1980s were depicted.

Wansdyke primary was out in force wearing colourful costumes. Shelley Bolwell, who helped organise the entry, said: "The children really enjoyed helping to make the costumes.

"We had workshops which were good fun. Changing the date meant it was easier for the school to take part."

Other schools joining in the fun were Five Lanes, Trinity, Southbroom St James, Southbroom Infants, St Joseph's and Rowde."

Charity Kittiwake, set up by a group of retired teachers to teach Syrian refugees English, chose a jungle theme. Organiser Roma Dunstan said: "We used what we could to make the costumes and everyone has enjoyed it. It is a great way for our Syrian families to join in this community event."

Devizes Town Council went back to the 80s for the theme for its float and town clerk Simon Fisher enthusiastically took on the role of Freddie Mercury. He said: "We had a lovely day putting our float together and all of our staff and their families joined in. It has been a real team bonding experience."