FIRE broke out at Ilminster Carnival in the annual parade 50 years ago.

The town's 1970 procession was marked by a record crowd and flames pouring from one of the floats.

Here is the report from 50 years ago...

ALL roads led to Ilminster on Saturday evening and for three hours the town enjoyed the wonder of the make believe world of carnival.

All suitable vantage points along the two-mile route were occupied as thousands of spectators flocked into town for the big event of the year.

Exactly how many people turned out to watch the colourful cavalcade is hard to assess but some local observers estimated a figure of 10,000.

Entries in the tableaux classes were the highest for some years, and although the trade entries were down, the procession still stretched for a mile.

The marshalling at the Orchard Vale assembly point was marshalled by the Round Table, and at 7.30pm prompt the huge lorries and trailers embarked on their two-hour parade through the town.

Although governed y the national 'work-to-rule' restriction, Ilminster Fire Brigade took its customary place at the head of the procession in order to give immediate emergency fire cover - and they were needed.

Fire broke out on Tatworth Youth Club's entry of 'The Neolithic Man', and the fire engine made a quick dash to put out the blaze.

Tractor driver Eric Peadon, 18, managed to unhitch his tractor, but the fire badly damaged the hut on the float and all the members' clothes were ruined.

A member of Tatworth Youth Club, Geoffrey Legg, who was standing nearby, said: "I suddenly saw a whole mass of flames. It was a very disappointing incident as the float had only been finished that afternoon."

Appreciate applause greeted the royal float bearing the Queen and her party.

This was one of the most attractive features in the procession, and with the queen, Miss Victoria Baker, in the charming, well-lit tableau, were her attendants, Miss Gillian Cruse, Miss Hazel Rice and Miss Heather Guppy, together with two scarlet-costumed beefeaters.

The cup for best feature in the procession went to the 1888 club, from County Hall at Taunton, while the trophy for best local entry was awarded to the Aldonvale Club.

Their entry of 'Soloman and Sheba' gained second in its class, but was placed ahead of the other winners in the local judging.