SINCE its creation more than 90 years ago, Malmesbury Carnival has become an important part of the local community.

The carnival, which first took place in Malmesbury in July 1925 in a smaller form to raise money for the Cottage Hospital and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institute, developed into an event which resembles today's celebration in 1933 when a organising committee was set up.

Locals from around town then organised the annual event to fund the swimming pool until 1939 where it was halted with the outbreak of the Second World War.

One of the widely anticipated shows of the pre-war carnival was escapologist and magician Bernard Bavesi, known as the great Athelstanio who, as one of his stunts, escaped from a shackled sack which had been thrown into the river.

Another key part of the carnival is the crowning of the Carnival and Butterfly Queen and Vicky Davies, 68, who now lives in Royal Wootton Bassett can recall her experience in the 1972 carnival.

She said: "That year there were about 38 girls which was one of the biggest they had ever had. We then got whittled down to the last five and from there they had to choose the Carnival Queen. My sister (Annette) and I were one of the attendants and my youngest sister (Vanessa), who is 13 years younger than me, was one of the Butterfly Queen's attendants too.

"We were the only sisters ever all to get into the carnival pageant."

The carnival was restarted after the war in 1952 and has run regularly since then and after the swimming pool was built nearly ten years later, the festival continued to donate its proceeds to a number of good causes – something that continues today.

Deborah Clogg, chairman of the Malmesbury Carnival committee, said: "I can say that this year's carnival will include many old favourites, such as Petticoat Lane Street Market, alongside new events.

"We are very sorry to say that Bob Browning, a great friend of carnival, passed away in May. This deprives the town of seeing his wonderful and creative contributions to the procession, which have included a Great Bustard and a Viking longboat. I understand that a tribute to Bob may be entered into the procession this year and a new trophy is being donated in his memory for the most whacky entry in the procession.

"The other major contribution that Bob used to make to carnival was his Malmesbury Nostalgia evening; an eclectic and personal look through old pictures and memories of Malmesbury's recent past. We will still run a Nostalgia event and anticipate that it will take the form of tribute to Bob's outstanding work in documenting Malmesbury's past."

For more information on this year's carnival, visit