Procession by torchlight gets the go-ahead

AFTER years of battling, Eastbourne Bonfire Society has finally been given the go ahead to put on a torchlit procession and firework display to celebrate bonfire season.

The society was refused permission for five years running because of health and safety concerns.

Last year, the group tried and failed to hold a parade through Polegate on October 4.

Wealden District Council turned down the proposal because the town's streets were too narrow.

Last year, the 2008 society chairman Steve Cox said he was frustrated that there had not been a procession since 2003 because of Wealden and Eastbourne Borough councils refusing to grant a temporary road closure order.

But this year Eastbourne Bonfire Society has received permission to stage the event.

This follows close consultation with Eastbourne Borough Council, Sussex Police and East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, and support from former East Sussex County Council chairman Bob Lacey and LibDem parliamentary candidate Stephen Lloyd.

The current society chairman, Derek Legg, said, "The event is designed to be fun for all.

"Spectators will be entertained by a torchlit procession comprised of the members of Eastbourne Bonfire Society and of visiting societies from other towns and villages, all in fancy dress.

"The procession will occupy the lower promenade, beginning at Silverdale Walk and walking with the accompaniment of bands to the Pier, then back to the Bandstand, the whole route being viewed from the safety of the middle and upper promenades."

The procession will be followed by a firework display by Frontier Fireworks, which is subsidising the display for Eastbourne's first year.

An entirely aerial display will be fired from the beach at the Bandstand. A reserved area will be set aside for disabled spectators to enjoy the show.

The inaugural event takes place on the evening of October 24.

Mr Legg added, "Work to ensure this event is both safe and successful will continue throughout the year, watch for further details as plans are finalised.

"The society also travels to, and takes part in other processions around the county throughout the early September to mid-November bonfire season.

"If you would like to join or support the society then please keep an eye out for the Society Brochure and don't hesitate to contact the membership secretary, Ann on 07793 557194."