Pentathlon Carnival Club was formed by 5 people in 1971 by 5 people sat round a table. The name was taken from the ancient Olympics. The Pentathlon consisted of 5 events and seemed fitting for a club formed by 5 members.
The 5 people around that table were Margaret Whitehead, Tony Whitehead, Margaret Lock, Myra Ball and Rex Ball. The initial £100 loan from the bank to start the club was paid back within that first year.
The clubs headquarters was at The Thatchers Arms, Moorland. For many years the club's annual entry was built at the rear of the pub.
To encourage people to join the newly formed club, the membership fee was kept low, just 5 shillings (equal to 25p by today’s standard) and this attracted 47 members.
1971 was our first entry, taken from the opera called Aida. The float was a Sphinx. This achieved 3 1st place and 4 2nd place awards.
In 1971, Maurice Jenkins, our engineer, built our own generator in the chassis, a new idea at the time.
In 1972 we were picked as the first club to have a camera crew follow us around the carnival circuit. This proved lucky as it saw the club win the County Cup for the 1st time.
In 1973 we pushed the rules for Tableaux to its limit by introducing moving platforms on the float. This was not without its complications and its critics but did see the club gain 2 1st places.
In 1975 the first cantilever roof to be fitted to a carnival float was built. Many clubs tried to find out how it was constructed.
In 1986 the club had another first. A separate generator trailer was used, making the float 108ft long. The entry was Ben Hur, a float first designed 14 years earlier but never built due to the labour and models involved.
In 2010 the tractor was stripped down and the driving position bought to the very front of the cart giving the club more possibilities with what it could do when decorating the tractor.
In the past 39 years the club have won both the County Cup (Starkey) and the Midsomer Norton Cup several times.
2011 see's the club celebrate its 40th anniversary. It also see's the club being accepted as associate members of Bridgwater's Gangs and Features association with all the perks that can bring, including an offer to take part in the annual historic Squibbing performance in Bridgwater High Street, following the Bridgwater Carnival.
Following the mixed fortunes with the tractor last year we will see the club come back for the 2011 season more resurgent and, bolstered by an influx of new members, aiming for the top to celebrate the anniversary in style and to really do the tractor rework the justice it deserved.
2011 saw Pentathlon come out with a cart many described as 'breath taking' with horses charging through a snowy palace grounds and then storming the Tsar's palace. Many both within and outside of the club felt this to be one of our strongest entries for many years and felt confindent we would do well. Sadly the 2011 season was mixed with sadness. A tragic accident on the M5 on the night of Bridgwater Carnival resulting in several fatalities and the closure of the motorway for 5 days, saw the cancellation of our home carnival. This also saw North Petherton Carnival Committee face financial difficulties in the future due to the loss of income from the cancelled carnival.
With some clever badge selling and a hugely successful christmas fare organised by Pentathlon a donation was made to North Petherton Carnival Committee which we hope will help secure the future of North Petherton Carnival.
2011 also saw the closure of our HQ, The Swan Inn, in the heart of North Petherton, leaving us again to find a new home. After much deliberation we gladly accepted the offer from The Walnut Tree Hotel, making us able to continue having our HQ in the heart of North Petherton. We look forward to working with the management and staff of The Walnut Tree and making this a well known and enjoyed HQ for many years to come.