‘Spectacular’ fireworks display and ‘blazing’ procession

Hailsham Bonfire Society torchlit parade and firework display October 19th 2013
Hailsham Bonfire Society torchlit parade and firework display October 19th 2013

Hundreds of people lined the streets of Hailsham on Saturday (October 19) for Hailsham Bonfire Society’s annual Guy Fawkes celebrations.

The celebrations saw the streets of Hailsham engulfed in a sea of 1,000 flaming torches as the procession wound its way around the town.

The society’s effigy depicted Guy Fawkes leaving the town to show how the society had lacked support over the last year.

The Express had previously reported how the celebrations on Saturday could have been the town’s last after a lack of new members and donations meant the society’s demise looked inevitable.

But thanks to generous support from the Hailsham people, the society will hold its event again next year (see page 3), after more than £500 of donations were made directly to the society.

On the night, a maroon signalled the start of the event from Western Road and the procession made its way through the town accompanied by the music of the Heathfield Silver Band, the Sussex Stompers and the Rebel Drummers.

On reaching the High Street the procession was lit up by the initials of the bonfire society illuminated in red white and blue fireworks and two Flanders poppies.

At the town’s war memorial the Lord Bishop of Hailsham conducted a traditional service of remembrance and Mrs Stella Henstock laid a wreath of poppies on behalf of the bonfire society. Firework poppies were ignited and firecrackers discharged in an explosive flurry of red paper.

As the final procession weaved its way through the town the blazing initials of the society were brought to the fore to lead the way to the fire site in the leisure centre car park.

Following a rousing rendition of traditional bonfire prayers the sky erupted in a maelstrom of

light and sound as the spectacular firework display shook the town.

The evening concluded with the explosive demise of the bonfire society’s effigy.

Society spokesman Mike Farley said: “Regardless of the struggle we have endured this year our event has been an outstanding success.

“We sold out of programmes and the residents of Hailsham turned out in their hundreds to see the event.

“The increased support can also be seen in our charity collecting buckets with the total raised being just over £1000, that is £300 more than last year.”

All money collected during the street collection will be donated to St John Ambulance, 1st

Hailsham Scouts and Sussex Search and Rescue.

Anyone who is interested in joining the society or can offer any assistance can contact Mike Farley on 01273 510753 or further information can be found at hailshambonfire.org.uk