Littlehampton Bonfire Society stages its Traditional Bonfire Night on Saturday 29th October, in celebration of the 411th Anniversary of the overthrow of the attempt by Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators to blow up the King and Parliament.
Commented society secretary, Richard Cooper,
‘2016 sadly looks to have been the last ever summer carnival in Littlehampton. We are urging local residents to do all they can to support our event to try to ensure that Littlehampton Bonfire Night does not go the same way.’
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 over fifty entries from all over the southeast. The illuminated floats will include 2015 winners Littlehampton Churches Together hoping to repeat the success of their outstanding Garden of Eden creation last year and the 4th Littlehampton Scout Group trying to match the success of their 2015 youth category winning Chitty Chitty Bang Bang float. Carnival associations from Ventnor and Ryde will be making the trip across The Solent with their elaborate floats. Leading the popular contingent of steam engines will be Stuart Maggs’ 1917 Garrett showman’s tractor ‘Katrina’, which won the award for best presented steam engine in 2015. 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 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015. Seven marching bands will provide the music – ranging from brass and bagpipe to jazz and samba. The Glenduart Pipe Band has the honour of leading the torchlight part of the procession while the Portsmouth City Band will once again lead the illuminated floats and walking groups. Making a return visit after several years will be Brighton and Hove City Brass. Helping to liven up the proceedings will be the samba rhythms of Beach Bateria and bringing up the rear will be the ever popular Expedient Jazz Band. The members of Sompting Village Morris will be dancing their way along the procession route and Sussex Steel will be performing on their own illuminated float. Miss Bonfire, 12-year-old Holly Davie will ride on her specially constructed float. 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 charities and good causes which benefit the local community, and beneficiaries will include the Sussex Squids, Wick Dynamos Junior Football Club, Enable Me and the West Downs Neighbourhood Watch Task Force.
Organisers are hoping that this year’s street collection will be another record breaker. Commented Richard,
‘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 spectators to show their support by donating as much as they 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 £9,122 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, all donations to the collection buckets will directly benefit the local community.
Countless hours of volunteer time are involved in organising the celebrations, building the bonfire, making the torches, preparing the costumes and floats and of course raising the funds to stage the event. 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 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.