LEWES BONFIRE: Cliffe

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Bonfire celebrations take months of work, planning and fundraising.

Cliffe faced a fundraising set back this year when it had to cancel its annual music festival LewesLive in July due to weather conditions.

The society and Lewes Borough were both thought to be formed in 1853 and are the oldest of the six.

After a succession of barrel runs for its members from Cliffe Corner to Cliffe Bridge and its first and second procession, the latter of which includes throwing its burning tar barrel into the river Ouse and a visit to the War Memorial, Cliffe’s grand procession will commence. Members will wind their way from its headquarters The Dorset pub, on Malling Street, to Lansdown Place via Eastgate Street, Albion St, School Hill and Friars Walk.

Leading the procession, honouring the society’s tradition, will be members dressed as Vikings, to represent the society’s first pioneer group. They will be followed by the French Revolutionaries, the second pioneer group, and, of course, the smugglers in the society’s black and white stripes.

Its display at its Ham Lane fire site will start around 9.45pm and include the destruction of its effigies, the giant heads representing its 2016 ‘Enemies of Bonfire’ and its tableau.

Many will remember Cliffe’s tableau last year of former Fifa president Sepp Blatter, also chosen by Commercial Square Bonfire Society. Cliffe’s sculpture showed him sat in a host of gold coins giving the middle finger with a sign that read ‘THIEFA’; in 2014 Vladimir Putin was the public figure the society chose to depict in tableau form.

The society’s chosen charities are The Bevern Trust, Rockinghorse Appeal and St John Ambulance.