Apologies after Eastbourne bonfire announcement furore

Eastbourne Bonfire. Photo by Steve Curtis. SUS-150410-143058001

Eastbourne Bonfire. Photo by Steve Curtis. SUS-150410-143058001

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Eastbourne bonfire celebration organisers have apologised after a public announcement at the end of the torchlight procession caused upset.

Thousands of people lined the seafront to watch the parade, organised by Eastbourne Bonfire Society, and congregated on the beach for the lighting of the bonfire by the Western Lawns.

Eastbourne Bonfire. Photo by Steve Curtis. SUS-150410-142932001

Eastbourne Bonfire. Photo by Steve Curtis. SUS-150410-142932001

An announcement on the PA system asked for a minute’s silence in memory of Angela Weston, the bonfire society’s treasurer who passed away suddenly earlier this year.

But, unable to hear the announcement, members of one drumming group which had taken part in the parade, Pentacle Drummers, began drumming as the bonfire was lit which led to an upset rant from the person manning the PA, which could be heard all along the seafront.

Pentacle Drummers publicly apologised immediately after the furore on Saturday night.

A spokesperson said, “Pentacle Drummers would like to apologise to anyone who thought we were being disrespectful while drumming at the end of the procession on the beach tonight at Eastbourne bonfire procession. We were asked to drum several times by organisers and were not told that there was to be a minute’s silence.

“You can not hear the PA from the beach and so we continued to drum as encouraged by the organisers. Obviously we would not be so disrespectful as to drum during a moment of remembrance if we had known it was happening.”

A spokesperson for Eastbourne Bonfire Society said last night (Sunday) it hoped the “miscommnunication” had not offended anyone.

A spokesperson said, “Eastbourne Bonfire Society would like to thank everyone for attending the bonfire event on Saturday. We always appreciate the fantastic public support we get. This has been a difficult year for us. As some people may be aware our treasurer sadly passed away suddenly earlier this year.

“The team at EBS has had to work exceptionally hard to fill these gaps and ensure the event was the outstanding success it turned out to be. There was a lot of emotion around the event for the senior members of the team who are still feeling the tragic loss of a valued member. We are aware there has been some negative feedback surrounding the announcement of a minutes silence for her and would like to apologise for any offence caused.

“The council had very kindly offered the use of its new PA system which we haven’t used before. We were unaware the announcements could not be heard on the beach. Unfortunately this resulted in there being some miscommunication about the order of events.

“We hope this didn’t spoil anyone’s enjoyment of the evening. We look forward to welcoming you all to next year’s event.”

Thousands of people attended the weekend’s event and enjoyed the parade, bonfire and a spectacular firework display by Frontier Fireworks.

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