Protest march planned by Save Clitheroe Bonfire campaigners

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SAVE Clitheroe Bonfire campaigners will stage a protest march next Tuesday evening.

The march will start at 6 p.m. from Clitheroe Castle field, where the bonfire is usually staged, with those who take part walking to Ribble Valley Borough Council Chamber on Church Street. A full meeting of the council will start at 6-30 p.m. at which two of the campaigners, Katei Blezard (34), of Parson Lane, Clitheroe, and Lucy Hatherell (41), of Stamford Place, Clitheroe, will address councillors.

Mother-of-six Katei explained: “The aim behind the protest walk to the full council meeting is to ask for the removal of the Event Safety Advisory Group (ESAG).”

She added: “It will be a peaceful and if anyone brings any offensive banners they will be removed by organisers.”

Local police officers will also be on hand to monitor the protest.

Katei is particularly passionate about saving the community event as it is one of her 16-year-old son Kallum’s favourite annual events.

Severely disabled from birth, Kallum has also directly benefitted from the funds raised at the bonfire.

“Fireworks are one of Kallum’s favourite things and while he is there he feels like anyone else,” Katei explained. “I think the loss of Clitheroe bonfire is going to be an awful blow to a lot of local charities.”

During the meeting, leader of the opposition Coun. Allan Knox will present a motion to the full council about the bonfire and future of ESAG.

He has submitted a motion that addresses future workings of ESAG – the organisation responsible for providing safety advice to events in the Ribble Valley.

The motion reads as follows:

• Council notes with regret the announcement of the cancellation of Clitheroe bonfire.

• Council also notes the advisory nature of ESAG.

• Council calls upon the chief executive to review ESAG’s policies and procedures to ensure that all advice it provides is done in a constructive and timely manner.

• Council asks that the outcome of this review is reported to the next meeting of policy and finance committee.

Coun. Knox said: “It is clear that when relationships between the organisers of a community bonfire and an advisory group have got to the stage that the organisers of the previously successful event quit then something has to change.”