Thousands of people lined the seafront at the weekend as the bonfire season went off with a bang in Eastbourne.
The town came alight with a torchlight procession, a huge bonfire on the beach and a spectacular firework display, while revellers got into the festival spirit by donning colourful costumes as they paraded from the Crown and Anchor Pub, east toward Fisherman’s Green and back along the promenade down to the Wish Tower Slopes on Saturday evening (October 4).
The procession was led by the patron of Eastbourne Bonfire Society, Stephen Lloyd MP, and included members of 10 bonfire societies from across Sussex, as well as Eastbourne’s Kingfisher Scout Band, Pentacle Drummers, Stix Drummers and Hunters Moon Morris Dancers.
David Oliver, a member of Eastbourne Bonfire Society, said, “It’s a celebration and a Sussex tradition that started after Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the King of Parliament and it’s taken off from there ever since.
“It’s been very much a family thing throughout Sussex. Obviously there’s been breaks when different societies have broken up and in between wars, things like that, but Eastbourne’s been going since 2001. As soon as this one’s over, we’re planning for next year. We vote for two charities every year. This year it’s the Eastbourne Epilepsy Society and for the YMCA.”
The annual event would not have been the success it was without the help of a team of volunteers, who built the bonfire, sold programmes, collected donations and cleaned up the beach after the celebrations.
Next, it’s the turn of Hailsham and Seaford to host their annual bonfire celebrations. Both will take place on Saturday, October 18 and will feature traditional acts of remembrance - Hailsham Bonfire Society will conduct ‘Bonfire prayers’ before the grand firework display, while a wreath will be laid down at the war memorial with a two-minute silence in Seaford.
• See page 22 for photos.