ONE OF Hampshire's biggest towns is celebrating a £5,000 deal that has secured the future of its century-old carnival.

Totton College sponsored the annual crowd-pleaser for the first time last summer and has now agreed to back the event for a further three years.

This year's parade was in jeopardy less than a month ago, with organisers citing a lack of funds and a shortage of marshals.

Last week they revealed that both problems had been solved but said they were not in a position to reveal the identity of the main sponsor.

Now Totton College has come forward and confirmed it will support the event until 2020.

A college spokesman said: "The carnival was first run more than 100 years ago and helps to raise money for local causes.

"It was previously under threat due to a lack of community support and funding to help pay for insurance, medical cover and security costs.

"Having heard about the plight of the organisers, Totton College has agreed to a £5,000 deal that will see it become the main sponsor.

"It has also offered facilities for committee meetings during the run-up to this year’s event."

Carnival committee member Chris Vincent added: "We are thrilled that Totton College has agreed to become our main sponsor for three years.

"It’s a small team that helps organise the parade so having the college as a partner will make a huge difference.

"Knowing our costs are covered for the next three years means our committee can focus on other aspects of the carnival and make it as good as it can be.”

Totton is the biggest town in the New Forest.

Every year thousands of people line the streets to watch the colourful collection of floats make their way from Calmore Industrial Estate to Eling Recreation Ground.

Mary Howard, Totton College’s faculty manager, said she had attended the event for many years.

She added: "When I learned its future was in jeopardy I was keen for the college to meet with the organisers to see if there was anything it could do to help.

"We’re delighted that this sponsorship deal will ensure the carnival continues. I really hope others will join us in getting behind it and making it a success.”

This year’s parade will take place on Saturday, June 16 with the theme Totton: Fashion over the Ages.