TOY Story characters were a familiar sight at the Isle of Wight's carnivals this year and the group behind the impressive costumes has been awarded the Spirit of Carnival award.

The Bloomfield family and friends earned the Spirit of Carnival award for 2018 for both their outstanding contribution and for embodying the spirit of what the Isle of Wight’s traditional carnivals are all about.

The Spirit of Carnival was introduced by the Gibbs family in 2017 and this year a new award has been created to recognise an overall winner for the year.

The aim is to encourage participation from more individuals, groups and businesses by recognising some of carnival’s unsung heroes. During the season, separate awards were presented at the Newport, Ryde, Sandown and Ventnor carnivals.

The Bloomfield family and friends were presented with the award at this year’s Sweetcorn Fayre and they all turned up in full costume for the presentation.

Andrew and Jane Gibbs said: “We are so pleased to be able to support our local carnivals. The Island has such a vibrant heritage and it deserves all of our support and we would encourage other local businesses to get involved.”

The Gibbs family are the owners of several well-known Island pubs as well as Arreton Barns and have been actively involved in carnivals for many years, always entering The Spyglass pirate ship into the Ventnor Carnival.

“We wanted to create an award to celebrate the people and organisations that really get into the spirit of the occasion. The Bloomfield family and friends are very worthy winners and I am delighted they are our first winners of this award," Neil Gibbs said.