Sunshine on a rainy day as Notting Hill lights up to annual street carnival

Dated: / /2010 Matt Lloyd - The Times

Thousands of soggy revellers took to the streets for the final day of Notting Hill Carnival undaunted by the wet weather, the Western Daily Press reports.

The procession of sound systems and floats was delayed due to rain, but an organiser said it started at midday yesterday and there was a continuous flow of bands throughout the afternoon.

Flamboyant headdresses and skimpy costumes were joined by umbrellas and plastic ponchos as 7,000 police officers were on patrol to keep order at the event in a washed out west London.

And the weather is not set to improve, as Calum MacColl, a forecaster at the Met Office, said: “It’s very much going to stay wet with persistent rain.”

There were thought to be fewer people at the event yesterday than there was on Sunday which was billed as the “family day” of the annual festival where children basked in pleasant sunshine.

Sixty bands were expected at yesterday’s “adult day”, as costume-clad performers stroll the area’s streets and the aroma of Caribbean food fills the air.

Meanwhile, West Country-based pop star Lily Allen said on Twitter that a generator had “blown”.

She wrote: “I’m at #nottinghillcarnival @digitalsoundboy the generator has blown, need a generator quicktime, can anyone come and fix it ?”

Notting Hill Carnival 2012

In what is always a huge police operation, Chief Superintendent Robyn Williams said the force’s priority was to “facilitate a safe and vibrant carnival”.

By 9pm on Sunday police had made 95 arrests, including five for possession of offensive weapons, 35 drugs arrests and ten for common assault.

Ms Williams said: “Carnival very much presents us with two extremes; those who want to enjoy the sound systems, cuisine and have a good time and those who use it as an opportunity to commit crime.”

A number of business owners and residents boarded up their properties on the carnival route in a bid to avoid damage.

A gang crime crackdown in the run-up to the party resulted in 157 arrests and the seizure of guns, drugs and thousands of pounds in cash.

As part of Operation Kent officers retrieved two machine guns and a handgun, crack cocaine and around £78,000 in cash. Officers known as “super-recognisers” were primed to spot those banned from the event, as well as gangs and groups who attend.

Carnival organisers said this year marked the first milestone in the build-up to the event’s 50th anniversary in 2016.

Michelle Johns, 44, from Lincoln, who was watching the procession with her husband and two daughters yesterday said the atmosphere was great.

“It’s brilliant fun. Everyone is friendly and having a great time,” she said.

Theresa Smith, 69, who lives in South London but is originally from St Vincent in the Caribbean, helped to make costumes for children joining the South Connections band which took part in the procession.

She said: “I love the carnival, I’ve come every year since 1987.

“For two days of the year the streets of London are mine as a West Indie.

“The Caribbean community comes together and we celebrate.”

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