Eastbourne bonfire society promises a great evening for the whole family

A member of Eastbourne Bonfire Society pictured at last year's celebrations
A member of Eastbourne Bonfire Society pictured at last year's celebrations

BONFIRE boys from Eastbourne are getting fired up for the town’s annual procession and firework display – with organisers promising the bash will be the best yet.

Eastbourne Bonfire Society will celebrate its 10th anniversary on Saturday, a decade after local enthusiasts banded together to relaunch the popular annual extravaganza.

Since 2001 the group has been taking part in processions across Sussex and the south east and has, for the last three years, held a bonfire party here in Eastbourne.

This year’s event will include a cavalcade of drummers, pipers, dancers and more than 20 bonfire societies, with the procession set to leave Fisherman’s Green at 7.30pm before moving along the seafront toward the pier.

The marchers will then have a short break before continuing down the seafront and onto the Wish Tower where a beacon will be lit before the crowds are treated to a fire work display.

Roy Redley, who is in charge of safety on the night, said he hoped as many local people as possible would get behind the event.

He said, “It has been a long journey, but we are now in our third year of running a bonfire and it is improving every year.

“So far the town has really rallied behind us and we are hoping for another good turnout at the weekend.”

Last year’s event attracted around 5,000 people and raised almost £2,000 for local good causes.

This year Mr Redley is hoping to trounce both totals. “We are being allowed to use the road this year,” he explained, “so we are hoping to collect more money because we will have people on both sides of the procession.

“Every penny given to our buckets goes to charity and this year it will be split between the RNLI, the Oasis Outreach Centre and the Rockinghorse Appeal at the DGH.”

The cost of the event is met by the bonfire society itself, together with support from some local businesses and individuals, but the smooth-running of the night itself is very much down to the army of volunteers.

The society now has upwards of 60 members and anyone who wants to help steward or shake a bucket on Saturday is urged to head down to Fisherman’s Green before the start time.

It may not be the biggest, or the oldest bonfire celebrations in Sussex, but the Eastbourne bash is here to stay.

“Bonfires are a Sussex tradition,” said Mr Redley. “At a time when we are losing a lot of traditions it is important we celebrate the ones we have left.

“Nobody will ever stop the bonfires.”

Unlike in other towns, the celebrations in Eastbourne will be limited to a seafront beacon because health and safety concerns have led to organisers avoided a beach-based bonfire because stones can become dangerous when heated to extreme temperatures.

But despite the lack of bonfire, the local society promises it will be a great evening for everyone.

“It is definitely a family friendly event,” said Mr Redley, “so we are hoping lots of people come down.

“Bring your children, bring your grandparents or bring the entire family. You won’t regret it.”

Anyone who would like to volunteers should email eastbournebonfiresociety@gmail.com or head to the starting point as stated.