Get ready for bonfire night

Last year's parade in Eastbourne
Last year's parade in Eastbourne

It’s bonfire season, and revellers are gearing up to celebrate with a bang.

With crackling fires , spectacular fireworks, toffee apples and entertainment, Sussex does bonfire night well.

eastbourne bonfire society torchilt parade October 5, 2013 ENGSUS00120130710104504

eastbourne bonfire society torchilt parade October 5, 2013 ENGSUS00120130710104504

A tradition more than 400 years old, bonfire night remembers the failed attempt by Guy Fawkes to blow up parliament on November 5, 1606.

These days, its more of a family event, celebrated by villages and towns throughout the UK.

Here’s a round up of the events coming up in the Herald area:


seaford bonfire society procession 2013 ENGSUS00120131021111739

seaford bonfire society procession 2013 ENGSUS00120131021111739

The bonfire season will kick off in Eastbourne, on Saturday October 4.

The seafront will become alive with colourful costumes, blazing torches, Morris dancers, bands and drummers in the town’s annual bonfire event.

There will be a torchlight procession, bonfire on the beach and a firework display and is in previous years thousands of spectators are expected to line the seafront.

But such a big event requires lots of volunteers, and the bonfire society is hoping to find people to help them build a bonfire on the beach adjacent to the Wish Tower slopes tomorrow.

It is recommended helpers wear gloves, boots and old clothes and the team would welcome any fit and strong person who can spare an hour or two throughout the day.

“Our captain of bonfire, Toby Tomsett will be down on the beach from 7am to supervise the build and he will direct you to the required tasks, in addition to the bonfire construction torches need to be dipped and moved and display set pieces made up,” said a society spokesman.

“There is a lot to do in a short time so the more help we have the easier it will be, so please come along anytime during the day and give us a hand.”

Help is also needed from 10am Sunday to clean up the beach and return it to its former glory.

Taking part in the procession this year are ten bonfire societies from across Sussex together with Eastbourne’s Kingfisher Scout Band, Pentacle Drummers, Stix Drummers and Hunters Moon morris dancers and from the London Olympics opening ceremony the pandemonium Drummers

“All with flaming torches it makes a fantastic sight of fun and fire as the procession moves along the seafront, altogether an awesome event not to be missed,” said the Eastbourne Bonfire Society spokesman.

“We are pleased the pier has reopened and is now illuminated again as it makes a fantastic backdrop to our event along with our bonfire and fireworks.

“We hope the people of Eastbourne and beyond will come to the seafront and enjoy this spectacle of fire and fun, please give generously to our bucket collectors in aid of local charities. This year’s beneficiaries are Charlies YMCA and Eastbourne Area Epilepsy Group.”

The parade will be led by the patron of Eastbourne Bonfire Society, MP Stephen Lloyd.

The festivities begin at 7.30pm from the Crown & Anchor Public House in Marine Parade processing east to Fisherman’s Green and returning along the seafront to the Wish Tower slopes.

The bonfire will be lit at around 9pm together with one of the town’s most spectacular fireworks displays complete with fire paintings.

Society members will be in the town centre on Saturday during the day selling programmes and collecting donations.

The programme sellers will be supported by Stix Drummers.

Road closures will apply for all or some of the seafront between 7pm and 10pm.

Local charities sharing the proceeds with the society this year are Charlie’s YMCA and Eastbourne Area Epilepsy.


The town’s streets will undergo a spectacular transformation on Saturday October 18 when Hailsham Bonfire Society stages the annual bonfire celebrations.

The first torchlit procession will start at 7.30pm from Western Road and snake through the streets to the War Memorial where a traditional bonfire act of remembrance will take place.

Crackers will be ignited; the red paper representing the Flanders poppy. The procession will then return to Western Road for the award of the best-dressed bonfire society trophy.

The Grand Procession will form up at 9pm and with torches blazing it will process once more through the town to the Leisure Centre car park where the bonfire will be lit.

Hailsham Bonfire Society will conduct ‘Bonfire Prayers’ before the grand firework display erupts in a feast of colour and sound. The evening will culminate with the fiery destruction of Guy Fawkes.

During the processions the society will be conducting a street collection for a number of charities. This year the society has chosen to support Environment Hailsham, East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS), Sussex Army Cadet Force, Beachy Head Chaplains Team, Hellingly Rugby Football Club, Sussex Search and Rescue and Sussex 4x4 Response.

The society is always in need of volunteers to help with the street collection so if you are willing to help please go to the Hailsham Memorial Institute any time from 6pm on the evening of the event.


Bonfire night in Seaford is also on Saturday October 18, and will be the society’s fourth year of running the event.

There will be a torchlit procession starting from The White Lion on Claremont Road, and ending at Martello fields for a spectacular firework display.

The procession is due to leave at 7.15pm.

There will be a wreath laying at the town’s war memorial, with a two minutes silence in respect for the fallen.

Seaford’s Mayor Councillor Mark Brown will be laying a wreath and then, along with Mr Norman Baker will be judging members of Seaford Bonfire Society and visiting societies.

The procession will arrive at the Martello Fields at 8.30pm, and then the lighting of the emblems will take place at 8.45pm.

The firework display is planned for 9.15pm by Frontier Fireworks.

Neighbouring societies will join the Seaford group to create a spectacle through the town’s streets.


The world-famous bonfire celebration at Lewes is on Wednesday November 5, with festivities gearing up at 5pm.

The town has several different bonfire societies which put on separate events and displays scattered across Lewes.

The societies consist of the Cliffe Bonfire Society, Commercial Square Bonfire Society, Lewes Borough Bonfire Society, South Street Bonfire Society, Southover Bonfire Society and the Waterloo Bonfire Society along with other Sussex Bonfire Societies who are invited to join in the fun.

Each society has its own costumes, traditions, celebrations and displays, with some suitable for families, and others more suited to an older audience.

A number of effigies, usually of controversial characters are thrown onto the bonfire, along with Guy Fawkes and Pope Paul V, (who became head of the Roman Catholic Church in 1605), who are thrown on every year.

The event always draws in thousands of revellers, and the party goes on into the early hours. The first procession is at 5pm, with the last scheduled for midnight.

Programmes from the different bonfire societies can be purchased around Lewes town centre leading up to the event.

The Lewes Bonfire Council advises that the event is unsuitable for dogs and young children, because the streets will be very crowded, and it is difficult to park because the town’s roads will be closed.