Littlehampton Bonfire Society stages its Traditional Bonfire Night on Saturday 25th October, with an evening which promises to be a spectacular mixture of fire, colour, music and steam.
Events kick off with two Dignity Charity Fair Organs playing in the town centre during the day. Following their fancy dress competitions, the society’s children take part in their own procession accompanied by the T S Implacable Nautical Training Corps Band and the Arundel and Littlehampton District Scout Band. The society’s traditional poppy wreath will later be laid at the war memorial during a short service lead by the Reverend Norman Croft.
The Grand Torchlight Procession will feature nearly fifty entries from all over the southeast. The illuminated floats will include visitors from across The Solent, with the Ryde and Cowes carnival associations making the trip with their elaborate floats. Leading the popular contingent of steam engines will be Mick Sayers with his 1921 Aveling and Porter steam roller ‘Naiad’, whose efforts earned him the award for best presented steam engine in both 2011 and 2012. Littlehampton Bonfire Society, lead by its North American Indian pioneers and supported by members depicting the Tudor era and in other costumes, will head up the torchlight section of the parade. The host society will be followed by visiting bonfire and carnival societies in their traditional costumes and bearing flaming torches. These will include the members of Phoenix who will be attempting to retain the title of best-dressed visiting society, together with the coveted Butlin Silver Challenge Trophy, which their spectacular costumes won the group in both 2011 and 2012. Six marching bands will provide the music – ranging from brass and bagpipe to jazz and samba. The Oatlands Park Pipe Band have the honour of leading the torchlight part of the procession on their first visit to the celebrations. Portsmouth City Band will once again lead the illuminated floats and walking groups, helping to liven up the proceedings will be the samba rhythms of Beach Bateria and Celebration Samba and bringing up the rear will be the ever popular Expedient Jazz Band. Miss Bonfire, 14-year-old Jessica Baker, will ride on a brand new float and also featuring in the torchlight part of the procession will be Sir Marmaduke Rawdon’s Regiment of Foote. The lighting of the mammoth bonfire by the society’s Commander in Chief, John Burchfield, will be followed by the grand aerial firework display. William Cole’s family funfair will be open on the Promenade from 2.00p.m.
Street collections at the event are in aid of local charities and good causes, and beneficiaries will include St Barnabas House, Littlehampton Swimming Club, Arun Co-ordinated Community Transport and East Preston Area Community Responders.Organisers are hoping that this year’s street collection will be another record breaker. Commented society secretary, Richard Cooper.
‘We are proud that despite ever increasing costs of staging our event, every penny of our collection continues to go to the charities and good causes we support. We charge no entry fee, but we do ask you to show your support by donating as much as you are able to our collection buckets, and hope that this year each spectator will be able to give at least £1. We hold the record of £9,110 for the all-time highest street collection at any Sussex bonfire and carnival celebrations. We believe that a £10,000 street collection should be possible in Littlehampton – please help us to achieve this! Don’t forget, your donation will directly benefit the local community.
Our society has had to raise over £25,000 to stage this year’s event for the town and the benefit of our beneficiaries. Countless hours of volunteer time are involved in organising the celebrations, building the bonfire, making the torches and preparing costumes and floats. We are urging Littlehampton residents and visitors to show their support and appreciation of these celebrations and to donate as generously as they can to the collection buckets.’
Littlehampton Bonfire Society has also issued a plea to spectators attending Bonfire Night not to purchase balloons, glow sticks and other carnival novelties from street traders.
‘Any street traders attempting to sell balloons, glow sticks and similar novelty items will be uninvited. They do not contribute at all to the costs of staging the celebrations and in previous years have caused obstructions. We would very strongly request that spectators put their money in our collection buckets instead to support our chosen beneficiaries. Official refreshment vendors – who do generously contribute to the costs of staging the event – will be found on the bonfire site (East Green car park), The Green, Banjo Road and at William Cole’s fun fair on the promenade.’
Times for the bonfire, firework display and processions are to be found in the Bonfire Night programmes, now on sale in shops in Littlehampton, Wick, Rustington and East Preston and at the Look and Sea Centre, River Road, Littlehampton. See the society’s website www.littlehamptonbonfiresociety.co.uk for programme stockists.