Fletching’s torchbearers light up the night skies

They certainly set the night on fire.

More than 20 bonfire societies from across the county helped turn Fletching’s annual bonfire into a blazing success, thanks to massive commitment from the local community and a sparklingly clear night.

Fletching Bonfire Society

Fletching Bonfire Society

Sarah Bradford, Bonfire Society chair, said: “What a fantastic evening to celebrate our 160th anniversary and the 100 years since the start of World War I.”

The event started with fancy dress competitions in the village hall. Sarah said: “Although we had some great homemade costumes, there were very few entries which was quite disappointing. But the evening more than made up for it.”

Fletching hosted the 20-plus societies and were also joined by the Waterloo Pipe Band, Barcombe Scout Band, Stix and Skull Drummery.

There were two amazing torchlight processions in which more than 4,000 torches were lit.

An added attraction this year was the lighting of the poppies and WW1 set piece at the War Memorial where a two minute silence was held.

Members then carried on through the village to the firesite where everyone was entertained by a wonderful firework display to music created by Ashdown Fireworks.

Sarah went on: “What a fantastic evening. We would like to thank all the bonfire societies who joined us and the hundreds of people who came along and witnessed the fantastic firework display. The whole evening’s success was down to the hard, tireless work of our small group of members to put on this wonderful evening of entertainment.”

Best dressed visiting society was Vines Cross and in second place was South Street, Lewes.

Fletching Bonfire Society was founded in 1854. There are now 25 members and a committee of 20. They raise funds all year round and expect to have raised more than £500 for fireworks this year.

Fletching’s men dress as American Civil War Confederates or Union soldiers while the women dress up as Southern belles.

The Society processes through the village from end to end and then assembles at the Cherry Tree estate for their firework display and the bonfire itself.

Among those taking part this year were Lindfield, Burgess Hill, South Street Juveniles Lewes, Newick and Hailsham Societies plus two bands, the Guy and the Society’s banner.

All carry flaming torches to create an eerie and spectacular sight.