The day Fontwell Park staged a world record attempt to burn hundreds of guys simultaneously

​A world record attempt staged at Fontwell Park by a Midhurst-based national charity in November 2009 went with a bang, with thousands of people turning out to see a breath-taking display of fireworks and giant bonfire stacked with dozens of guys.

Dreams Come True made a bid to set a world record for the highest number of guys to go up in flames simultaneously at The Night of a Thousand Guys.

The challenge created a great buzz of excitement, with flames from the fire shooting high up into the night-time sky and leaving the crowds gasping in amazement.

This spectacle was followed by a stunning fireworks spectacular to music and the grandstand view for spectators was an added bonus.

And although the guys taken along to meet a fiery end numbered more than 100 rather than 1,000, there was optimism to build on the effort.

A weird and wonderful array of guys in all kind of guises arrived at the racecourse from far and wide, each one accompanied by a donation to Dreams Come True.

They had come from Chichester, Bognor, Midhurst, Bury, Selsey, East Wittering, Bosham, Goring, Rustington, Ferring, Haslemere, Worthing, Eastleigh, Arundel and Horsham, to name just a few.

Many had been made by children, some as young as three or four, with schools and guides entering into the task with tremendous enthusiasm, and a great effort by the Bognor Beavers Visually Impaired Club.

One guy had even made the long journey from the Isle of Wight, while another had come all the way from Sutton in Surrey, brought along by London cabbie Dave Shelley and his son George, eight.

The idea of making a guy had captured Dave’s imagination when he heard about it during to a visit to a race meeting at Fontwell the previous week.

The bonfire in the centre of the course was lit by celebrity model Katie Green from Chichester, a great supporter of Dreams Come True.

She set the sparks flying as the giant bonfire flared up dramatically. Heat from it could even be felt by the crowds thronging the grandstands.

"What an amazing evening this has been," said Adrian Atkinson, the charity’s head of fundraising, at the time.

"More than 2,500 people enjoyed a carnival atmosphere with an outstanding bonfire and fireworks display.

"To say we were impressed with the imagination shown by the children and their mums and dads in designing and making their guys, is an understatement.

"The team at Dreams Come True is most grateful for the donations we received on the night and indeed which are still coming in. These funds will go directly towards making dreams come true for even more children who are terminally or very seriously ill.

"We burned more than 100 guys on the bonfire and bearing in mind that this is our first such event, we think this is an encouraging first step towards the ultimate goal of 1,000 guys.

"Many local people volunteered to help us and it looks as though we will have recruited new volunteers to help us."

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