THE chairman of Prestwich Carnival is set to step down from the position after seven years at the helm.

Frank Shatliff took over the role in October 2011 following his retirement.

At that time the annual celebration of the community was in dire financial straits, and there were fears that the event may not be able to go ahead.

However Mr Shatliff and his team worked fervently to ensure the carnival would go ahead and have assured the event has gone from strength to strength in recent years.

Mr Shatliff, a father and grandfather who has lived in Prestwich for most of his life, said: '' I hadn't been on the committee long when I was asked about taking on the role of chair from David Curtis, and after a conversation with my family I decided to give it a go.

"It was a daunting task for someone who had never done anything like this before, but I thought hay-ho let's do it.

"There were hardly any funds to start for one of the biggest events in Prestwich run by volunteers."

He added: "There was a possibility that Prestwich Carnival wouldn't have taken place because of a lack of money but we totally turned it around."

Mr Shatliff quickly set about overhauling the way that the carnival was organised, and working with performers and Abbi Phillips from Salford University he and his team expanded the 2012 event, and ensured that it was a financial success into the future.

He said: "We didn't owe a penny to anyone and we had decent funds going into the following years carnival, and donated to good causes as well.

"It wasn't all plain sailing, there were ups and downs along the way, ruffling a few feathers as we went along. But the priority was Prestwich carnival nothing more, nothing less.

"As years went on we managed to build up our reputation with some great sponsor packages from businesses in the town, and I can't thank them enough for their generosity.

"The list of people that have helped me along the way is endless and I will always remember that.

"Its been an honour to represent the town where I have lived for most of my life bringing up my family and grandchildren, for Prestwich carnival.

"All this would not have been possible without the help of those committee members especially the ones that stuck with me all the way."

He added: "I'm proud of what we have achieved during my time and I'm proud of the fact that we will have a great team taking over."

Mr Shatliff will be succeeded by long-standing carnival committee member, Peter Roberts.

He said: "Peter has been with us a few years and is hard working and dedicated to the cause.

"I wish him all the luck as he goes forward with a great group of people to make Prestwich Carnival bigger and better for our beloved town."

Since stepping down Mr Shatliff has joked about writing a book entitled "My Carnival Years" about his time as chairman, adding: "We will see. There is certainly a story to tell."

He added that he is pleased to leave the carnival in a strong position for 2019 and will now focus his efforts on supporting the Prestwich regeneration, and mental health charity the Creative Living Centre.