A question mark is hanging over whether this year’s Eastbourne Bonfire Society’s traditional bonfire celebrations will take place because of a cash crisis and escalating costs.
Organisers say they will struggle to stage the popular procession, bonfire on the beach and firework display on Saturday October 5 unless sponsors come forward and donations are made to meet a £5,000 shortfall.
Eastbourne Bonfire Society members have been fundraising through the year with a rock concert, a crock smash and supported the Eastbourne Carnival, Extreme, Lammas and Airbourne.
Thousands of people watched the procession and firework display last year but unless a last minute fundraising push proves successful, the event may not go ahead.
David Oliver from the society said, “It has been a challenging fundraising year in the present economic climate despite the hard work and dedication of our members.
“Our event is a family friendly affair funded by the community for the community and the benefit of the town.
“A previous attempt to attract sponsorship didn’t work but we are now desperate.
“The costs are rising, insurance premiums have gone up and we need business and individuals to help us meet those costs.
“It would be a terrible shame not to be able to hold the event this year particularly when you look at how popular it was last year.”
This year’s 12th anniversary event includes the support of more than 15 bonfire societies from across the county as well as nationally acclaimed drumming sides The Pentacle Drummers and Pandemonium Drummers from the 2012 Olympics ceremony.
An extended new route is also planned.
David said, “The Bonfire Society held its best ever event last year with the first bonfire and fireworks on the beach to record crowds. To ensure the event survives we desperately need donations, however small.
“Our collectors will be at local events in the coming weeks. The society is optimistic that the community and businesses will rally round to maintain this spectacle for the town.
“Our members are working hard in their spare time making the 2,500 torches needed for the colourful procession, gathering pallets for the bonfire, and sprucing up their costumes.”
This year’s procession is due to raise money for two local charities, the Children with Cancer Fund at Polegate and the Matthew 25 Mission in Seaside which helps homeless and vulnerable people.
Programme sellers will be in Eastbourne town centre on Saturdays in September leading up to the event.
In addition David is appealing to members of the public to dig deep. Donations can be paid directly into HSBC in Terminus Road, to the Herald Office in Berkeley House, 26 Gildredge Road, or Beanzz in Grove Road. Cheques should be made payable to Eastbourne Bonfire Society.