Herne Bay is a seaside resort with a very considerable charm of its own. Just one part of the Bay’s tourist offering is the summer festival, the high point of which is a carnival kept lovingly alive by a small but dedicated band of volunteers. And the crowning glory of that carnival, literally, is the appearance of Miss Herne Bay and her court on the carnival float. All that being so it saddens me, as one who has chaired the Miss Herne Bay judges’ panel on many occasions, the process of selection should be the subject of less than well-informed criticism. Miss Herne Bay is not a beauty contest. The young ladies who enter are assessed on their poise and appearance, certainly, but more importantly upon their personality, commitment to our town, dedication and willingness to work hard as ambassadors for the Bay when visiting other carnivals and for their personal initiative and ambition. They are treated with courtesy and dignity as young adults and we know it takes a considerable amount of courage to enter what is, for some of the younger ones, almost certainly the first job Interview of their lives. That is why we take the trouble to try to ensure those who are not selected are properly thanked for participating and encouraged, as many do, to try again a year later.
Those of us who are fortunate enough to have contact with the members of the court, not just on carnival day, or at the Queen Vie Summer Fete, but throughout the year, know the demands on their leisure time are considerable, they work hard often in inclement weather and quietly, through visits to residential homes for example, they bring a great deal of cheer to less fortunate lives. We have also watched as they grow in confidence and stature in the course of a year in office and often transform from the very shy to the socially adept and mature. That is why I, if asked, have always been pleased to offer references, based on performance, to those seeking college or university places at the end of their year’s commitment. I believe a good job well done in the interests of Herne Bay deserves proper recognition and I know that view is shared by the chairman of the carnival committee, by his committee and by my fellow judges. Long may the carnival court survive and thrive and offer an opportunity for enjoyment, friendship and personal development to the very bright young people who participate.
Sir Roger Gale, Street Farmhouse, Preston
Herne Bay Gazette, April 16th 2015