THE ISLAND will show off Ryde's annual Mardi Gras to the chief executive of the Arts Council England, Darren Henley.

Mr Henley will witness the event, ran by the New Carnival Company, which showcases the very best of children and young people's carnival.

The New Carnival Company is one of the Arts Council's National Portfolio Organisations — the collection of leading arts and cultural organisations that receive regular funding from the Arts Council and form the backbone of the agency's work.

The Mardi Gras, on Saturday, June 30, is a themed parade featuring around 800 children and young people from 31 schools across the Island.

Community organisations, samba bands and other art groups will take part in the colourful spectacle.

The New Carnival Company has also been working closely with schools, academies, Platform One Music College, the IW Music Hub and two Caribbean music artists to compose and produce the Mardi Gras anthem.

This year's theme, Global Biospheres, is a collaboration with IW Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty who are currently leading a bid for the IW to become a designated Biosphere Reserve.

Mr Henley said: "I am delighted to be visiting the IW for this special and much-loved annual event. The Mardi Gras is creativity in action, a dynamic, living example of the benefits of creativity in education and in everyday life.

"I believe that by equipping children with the creativity to make the best use of their talents and providing them with expert teachers who can nurture those abilities, the next generation will have the skills necessary to invent tomorrow."