The event is held every year of the parade as part of the London Borough competition, where each borough has the opportunity to win prize money of up to £15,000 for their chosen charities if they are judged to have the best float.
Sutton’s charities this year are St Raphael’s Hospice Wellbeing Centre and Volunteer Centre Sutton.
Parade Director Joe Bone said: “It is clear this year that Sutton were very worthy winners.
“At the prize ceremony, all the other boroughs were in complete agreement that they produced the best float.”
Each borough was devised with creating their own theme for the competition, with Sutton choosing the mantra of “Sutton Rocks” – emphasising the borough’s positive, feel-good factor.
The competition was decided by street judges – at every grandstand location, two judges were chosen to view each borough’s passing float, with the only criteria being that they must not live in any of the boroughs taking part in the event.
The judges based their decisions on categories such as entertainment value, professionalism, representation of the borough’s theme and general wow factor.
Bone feels that the competition gives each borough an opportunity to display its own personality and distinctiveness.
He said: “For the last two years, the boroughs have been able to choose their own theme, and we’ve found that this method works much better, allowing them to express themselves how they would like to rather than restricting them into something that might not be relevant to that borough.
“I also think the standard of the entries has been hugely improved when boroughs have had this freedom.”
While the prize money is a big draw, Bone believes that the community aspect is the major attraction for boroughs to participate.
The director said: “The money is lovely but getting together as a community is the main reason why a lot of the boroughs get involved – it is something that no other event does, and I personally think that it is the best part of the whole parade.”
The sense of community spirit within each borough is strengthened by the extent of collaboration necessary to put the float together – Bone estimates that roughly 300 to 400 people chip in to help assemble a competition-worthy vessel.
It is ensured that they all received recognition for their hard work.
Bone said: “We go and visit the boroughs after the event and hand out a medal to everyone involved in the process – there is a big medal ceremony for all the boroughs so that everyone can get recognition, not just those people on the day of the parade.”
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