Carnival veteran Allyson Williams said the event was “a celebration of freedom and unity and resilience”.
The retired midwife, who received an MBE for her work in the NHS, has been going to Notting Hill for almost half a century after she was introduced to it by her late husband Vernon, one of carnival’s founders. She said: “My husband was a carnival band leader in Trinidad and he came here. When I met him I found out all about carnival.
“When you have a friend or a family member producing a band you have to help out. Most people need the help because it’s such a big production and it’s not always financially viable for you to do it.
“You can’t possibly do all the work yourself, so it’s a team effort, a community effort.” Mrs Williams, who first took part in carnival in 1975, helped set up her family’s band Genesis in 1980. She handled all the administration and was also lead seamstress responsible for the costumes.
She said: “It’s a celebration of freedom and unity and resilience and giving thanks and acknowledgment to our forefathers who went before us.”
This year she is helping out as a judge at the children’s carnival. She will be working with her daughter, Symone Williams-Nelson, who now leads the family band.
She said: “We are working on trying to develop the children’s carnival more. Getting children involved and really understanding and taking part on the days. So we’ve done a lot of workshops beforehand.”