Allyson Williams MBE

Hear from Alyson, a former NHS nurse and band leader at the Notting Hill Carnival

By Notting Hill Carnival

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Allyson Williams (2020/2020)Notting Hill Carnival

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Meet Allyson Williams MBE

My name is Allyson Williams MBE, and I have been involved in Notting Hill Carnival since 1975. Currently I’m one of the call band leaders with my daughter and son for our band called Genesis, which my husband and I started in 1980, so this year would have been our 40th anniversary.

Elimu (2013)Notting Hill Carnival

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I’m also a member of the board Notting Hill Carnival ltd that is actually running carnival, we got a contract for 3 years and so we are now responsible for organising this, for reimagining carnival off the road and organising this virtual carnival that’s happening at the moment.

Amer(Cen) W. Indies Trinidad And TobagoLIFE Photo Collection

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What does Notting Hill Carnival mean to you?

Notting Hill carnival means to me the opportunity to be able to celebrate the emancipation of slavery basically, because that is how it started in the 18th century in Trinidad, from the slaves celebrating their freedom. And it’s an opportunity to acknowledge and respect that legacy that was left, acknowledge our ancestors and forefathers and what they sacrificed, so that we are all here in the way that we are here and our ability to study, to learn, to be part of a cultural community. That is what it means to me originally.

Allyson Williams (2020/2020)Notting Hill Carnival

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In terms of Notting Hill, it’s a huge achievement for me and my family to have produced a costume band and stayed for so long in the Notting hill community. It means a great deal to me because my husband was very talented and an amazing designer and produced some extraordinary costumes for the community in London.  

As far as he was concerned it was a hobby, a very well liked hobby, that he did very well for the time that he was here. 

Notting Hill Carnival (2011)Notting Hill Carnival

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What is your hope for Notting Hill Carnival?

My hope for Notting Hill carnival next year is that it will be bigger and better than ever. I think a lot of people who are unable, like ourselves, who are unable to celebrate this year will hopefully store up all that  they wanted to achieve this year and bring it forward next year. As far as I'm concerned this is what we plan because we didn’t have the opportunity to celebrate 40 years of being a Carnival band and being artists at Notting Hill Carnival, so we’re going to try to do that next year... 

Allyson Williams (2020/2020)Notting Hill Carnival

...And I think that hopefully there will be a lot more interest, a lot more educated people, because I’m very confident and excited about the virtual Carnival. We have used this opportunity to educate people and I think that the youngsters that we’re hoping will run with it in the future will have a better understanding about why they’re doing it. So, I'm excited, I’m excited for Carnival next year.

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