Couple who met at Notting Hill Carnival say in-person event is ‘hugely missed’

A couple who met at Notting Hill Carnival said they will miss “the energy and the music and the smells” of the event, as it remains online for another year.

Simone, 44, and Mark Lemon, 42, met at Notting Hill Carnival in 2009. It was the first carnival that Mr Lemon had attended, with his wife having been a few times in the past.

Mrs Lemon, a partnership co-ordinator for Resolve West in Bristol, told the PA news agency: “I feel that the carnival is such a big part of the community that it’s just a real shame that it is not happening in person and I’d love to take the kids there so they could work out where it was we met.”

She added: “I just like the energy and the music and the smells. It’s the whole package, it’s the people-watching and the energy that people have and the music and the food, and the dark twilight and the freedom.

“We’ve all lost that freedom because we’ve all been in a lockdown situation. There are so many amazing and beautiful different people in the world and you have things like that which celebrate these differences.

“You have the parade that goes down the street and everyone is dancing and everyone just seems as one.”

Mr Lemon, a children’s author, podcaster, grief and mental health speaker and ambassador for children’s charity Winston’s Wish, said: “It’s a real shame that it can’t happen and runs a lot deeper than a carnival. It’s a community thing. It’s bringing families together.

“It’s a historical thing that a lot of people have grown up with, so to not have that will be hugely missed this year. ”

Simone and Mark Lemon getting married in Bath in 2013 (Mark Lemon/PA)
Simone and Mark Lemon getting married in Bath in 2013 (Mark Lemon/PA)

Mr Lemon said his friend Nick Burton asked him along to the carnival in 2009, and he met his future wife Simone at midnight in a pub in the area.

He said: “I had a call on the Sunday morning of the carnival, from a friend.

“Nick basically said, ‘what are you up to today? I’m going down to the carnival, meeting up with some friends, do you want to meet up?’.

“I wasn’t actually going to go down and then I changed my mind and I went down and met him and when I met him, he was with some other people that I’d never met before.”

Mr Lemon and Mr Burton have known each other since the age of three, with the latter feeling very happy to have played a part in the couple meeting.

Mr Lemon said: “Simone had dyed red hair and had a very good vibe. She had a really nice positive energy and we just hit it off really.”

Notting Hill Carnival
Dancers perform during the Notting Hill Carnival in west London (Fiona Hansen/PA)

Both spoke about how they most enjoyed listening to Norman Jay, a DJ, playing because the area he was playing in had a “great atmosphere”.

Following on from the carnival, Mr Lemon, who lived in London at the time, messaged Simone on Facebook and they went for a date in Leicester Square.

In 2011, Mr Lemon moved to Bristol, and the couple went on to marry in Bath in 2013 and have two children, Otis, 10, and Thea, six.

Notting Hill Carnival will have select performances streaming online over the bank holiday weekend.

Visit www.nhcarnival.org for more information.