THOUSANDS of people packed the streets of Ringwood at the weekend for the town's annual carnival.

The event, one of the biggest in Ringwood's calendar, attracted visitors from surrounding towns and villages.

It also boasted two processions on Saturday, one at 2pm and an illuminated procession at 7.15pm as the evening drew in.

Sampson's Percheron Horses led out the parade, which included colourful floats, marching bands, local schools, clubs and societies.

Organised by the Ringwood Carnival Society, the event – which includes a funfair at Bickerley Green – boosts the coffers of a range of local and national charities and good causes.

Last year's recipients included Great Ormond Street Hospital, Friends of Ringwood Infant School, Julia's House Children's Hospice and the Sarah Kinsley Fund.

A carnival society spokesman said: "Ringwood saw its very first carnival in 1928. It was originally set up to fund the purchase of a certain field from local man Mr Carver, as well as to raise monies for the Royal Victoria & West Hants Hospital.

"Carnivals followed in 1931 and 1934, when the Coldstream Guards marched through the town in full dress uniform.

"The first Carnival after the war was in 1950 and has continued every year since. Today the Carnival is Ringwood’s largest and most important annual community event."