Slideshow: Giant poppies at Nevill Bonfire Society celebrations in Lewes

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Four giant poppies were illuminated in commemoration of those who died in the two world wars during Nevill Juvenile Bonfire Society’s 47th annual celebrations.

Warm and dry weather brought large crowds to the event on Saturday (October 18) starting with a procession to Nevill Green where the poppies were sited.

Photos by Phil Duncan

Photos by Phil Duncan

A one minute silence was observed by society members who completely ringed Nevill Green with some 500 of the total of 4,000 torches made for the night.

The grand procession included four marching bands: The Lewes, Glynde and Beddingham Band, Earthquake, Drum Collective, The Kingfisher Scout Band and Lewes Community Samba Band.

An effigy of Guy Fawkes’ gruesome head mounted on a cart was dragged by members to the corners of Nevill Estate before they marched it the length of Nevill Road to the fire site at Landport Bottom.

The procession included 350 Nevill members who were joined by some 430 members from all the other Lewes bonfire societies.

All the tickets for the fire site had been sold when the crowd gathered in the warm night air for a particularly theatrical firework display which was started with a dart of flame fired from the clergy stand across the fire field to the main effigy.

A continuous 20-minute barrage of fire and sound then ensued, including knight figures from the Battle of Lewes and set pieces on the themes of Ghost Busters and the new Muppet series, Furchester Hotel, together with a stunning aerial display.

This year’s membership badge featured Sylvia Johnson, a longstanding member, who regularly braves the clergy stand to lead the crowd in the bonfire prayers.

Her assistant, Ben Edmonds, accompanied her in his own inimitable fashion, as he has done for several years now.

However, this year he introduced a piece of novel protection: an adapted fireguard, much to the amusement of the assembled crowd.

One new member commented: “It’s an extraordinary event and must take an immense amount of organising. We thoroughly enjoyed being involved and look forward to next year.”

Chairman of the society, Norma Thompson, was full of praise for the bands and for the members who had worked so hard to achieve another fine display and another safe evening.