APPRENTICE star Saira Khan yesterday revealed she had been “hired” to return East Oxford’s carnival to the Cowley Road.

Yesterday’s festivities were not held in the road for the second time in three years.

Organisers blamed a lack of funding and have enlisted the help of no-nonsense Ms Khan, runner-up in the first Apprentice series in 2005, to bring it back to its cultural home next year.

The 41-year-old, from Summertown, said: “This needs to go back on the road, it deserves to be on the road and it’s an important part of our heritage.

“People don’t realise how much time and effort goes into organising this event. It attracts 30,000 people and there are a team of just eight volunteers organising it.

“It started off as a small community thing, but it can’t be organised like that anymore.”

The event costs about £100,000, with £24,000 alone to close Cowley Road for it.

Ms Khan said: “This is about explaining to the businesses and communities that we need them to give some money.

If you saw me on The Apprentice, believe me, I don’t take no for an answer.

“It deserves to be on the road, it should be on the road and next year it will be.”

Trustee Geno Humphreys said: “We belong on Cowley Road, that’s why we named this the Cowley Road Carnival.” Aziz Rahman, from the Bangladeshi restaurant Aziz in Cowley Road, donated £1,000.

He said: “I’m disappointed with the lack of support. The road needs to be closed. It makes business sense to put money towards that.”