Bonfire and fireworks event raises record amount

Lucy Howard (seven) lighting this year's bonfire. Photo by David Bleazard.
Lucy Howard (seven) lighting this year's bonfire. Photo by David Bleazard.

Clitheroe Bonfire Committee is celebrating this week after a near sellout of all 5,000 tickets, raising proceeds of around £8,000 for local charities while at the same time delivering a safe, community event.

“We are very, very proud of how Saturday night went – and we couldn’t have asked for a better crowd atmosphere on the castle field: although muddy and a little wet, the conditions were great for the fireworks with no wind,” said Clitheroe Bonfire Committee chairman Andy Belcham.

Lucy Howard (seven) and her twin cousins Harry and James Wilkinson (four) who were plucked from the crowd to light this year's bonfire. Photo by David Bleazard.

Lucy Howard (seven) and her twin cousins Harry and James Wilkinson (four) who were plucked from the crowd to light this year's bonfire. Photo by David Bleazard.

“We always get great feedback on the event and this year we’d added more food concessions to reduce the queues from last year.”

Andy added: “It’s no mean feat to deliver a well planned and safe event, bringing thousands of people onto to a field and off again in the space of just a few hours.

“What many people don’t realise is that along with unpredictable weather which affects how the bonfire burns, we also have the challenge of a level crossing at Eshton Terrace which means that safe exits and fireworks have to be meticulously timed.

“We will communicate this much better in the future, rather than just on the night.”

The evening started out with seven-year-old Lucy Howard, who is a pupil at Pendle Primary School, and her twin cousins Harry and James Wilkinson, both four and pupils of Whalley Primary School, and family being picked from the crowd to light the bonfire, followed by Joanna Verity (six) and Thomas Verity (four) counting down the spectacular firework display.

“There are so many people to thank who are behind the scenes on events like these and we will be writing to them all over the coming weeks, but a special mention is due to both Banana News and Dawsons for their outstanding ticket selling and Peter Bryan at Rufus Carr who provides us with the control van each year,” continued Andy.

“We run a professional event, and everyone involved gives their valuable time and resource to ensure a well organised, fun, and safe event for all the family to enjoy. It’s not all about what we do on the day, there is a lot of work to do in the months running up to November 4th to pull this off and each year we fine tune things to make it even better than the last.

“More importantly, all of the community bonfire proceeds go to our nominated charities which this year are North West Air Ambulance and Lancashire Life Education.”

This year’s Guy Fawkes competition created two unicorns, and the winning Guy adorning the top of the fire belonged to 1st Waddington Cubs, with Grindleton Brownies in second place and Waddington and West Bradford school in third.

“First place goes to the big guy for attention to detail in the making and awareness of historical context in relation to Gunpowder Plot. The Stig is an imaginative response bringing contemporary relevance to the concept – and it’s always useful to have a unicorn around,” said Clitheroe Town Mayor Maureen Fenton.