By David Tingley
It was with a very heavy heart that the committee of Lindfield Bonfire Society (LBS) made the decision to cancel last month’s 5th November celebrations on the common. One member described the meeting as “most bizarre and surreal; we were all standing up to our ankles in water on the Common!”
“The decision had to be made on the Sunday,” said Phil Lucas, Bonfire Captain of the Society. “We were expecting the weather on Monday (5th) to be wet and windy again, like the previous day. However, as it turned out there wasn’t any more rain, so people can’t understand why we made the decision.”
As a volunteer-run group LBS can’t afford to reschedule the annual event because it takes too many man-hours to stage. Many volunteers take the week prior to Bonfire Night of their own annual leave from their day jobs. LBS have managed to negotiate with the fireworks supplier for them to store the fireworks already purchased for this year’s display until next year. “At least they will be safe and the money won’t have been wasted.” Phil continued. “We had some outgoings on the night, as some expenses weren’t able to be cancelled at such short notice, but it’s the charities we collect for on the night that will really notice unfortunately.” LBS fundraise for their costs throughout the year and the cash collection buckets go to local good causes. Indeed early indications show that this year’s collection raised less than 20% of the amount raised in 2011.
By the time the spectacular bonfire procession reached the High Street in the evening, it was clear that someone had heard the cry of villagers old and young. The good-spirited crowds that were gathered up and down the road were treated to a firework display from the gardens of a private house – much to their delight and cheers! Ben Russell, who lives on the High Street, was planning on doing a small display for family/friends anyway. “When I heard the news I decided to buy some more and make them bigger!” Ben said. “The fireworks were all electronic ignition. I suppose you could call me a bit of a hobbyist,” he said when I caught up with him the following day. Ben was very pleased to hear that so many were grateful for the last-minute display. He has lived in Lindfield for five years and is not currently a member of LBS but thinks he’d like to join!
Lindfield Bonfire Society promises an amazing fireworks display for 2013.