Clifford “Cossor” Goldsworthy
It was the 2006 Carnival programme that included an obituary to the man who gave rise to the legendary team of brighly-clad collectors of rag, bone and curios that bear his name – Cossors Gang, one of Carnival’s most consistently effective fundraisng initiatives.
A retired fireman, the origins of his nickname are somewhat lost in the mists of time, but is generally thought to be because he was one of the first in the area to own a coveted Cossor radio. He got the original idea for what became the huge auction and jumble sale seen today from the Butchers & Farmers Sale run by Frank Sheppard and Kitty Guilford in the 1920s where all manner of farm animals and other produce would change hands.
Cossor launched his first Sale in 1948 and his last 50 years later in 1998, the same year Carnival celebrated its own centenial and this was also the year he’d been determined to have his own mini-float in the carnival procession. The intention was to use the hand-cart he’d started out with in 1948, however, this proved elusive, so he ended up sitting in an armchair left over from Cossor’s Sale stuck on a tiny trailer towed by a Whatley’s van with a personalised COSSOR number-plate.
Being only a moderate drinker Cossor was the Gang’s first stickman who discharged his responsibility to get the rest of the team back to their collection duties after refreshment breaks at local hostelries by wielding his stick like a gavel. He also had the job of letting-off the traditional rocket that has always announced the start of the main procession.
On one occasion he quite literally lost the shirt off his back when he took it off during a hot day’s auction and it ended up being sold as a lot!
The Cossor Memorial Trophy was introduced to the carnival programme in 2006 by his family to be awarded at the end of events that reflected his great passions of walking and driving around the Pewsey Vale. A Dog Show would be another option because he loved “Man’s Best Friend” so much that he brought one back from the War with him! … we want to keep doing the things he loved explained daughter Carol Parsons.
In his later years Cossor was a familiar face outside the Fire Station throughout carnival fortnight – A community person, recalled Carol, I think he belonged to Pewsey as much as he belonged to his family.