Sad reflections for Waterloo Bonfire Society

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Celebrations will be shot through with a little reflection this year as Waterloo Bonfire Society remembers the lives of two influential members who sadly died during 2012.

The Society’s programme remembers Christine Gladman, born in 1941. Her friend Marilyn Penfold remembers her as a lifelong Bonfire girl who thoroughly enjoyed making costumes. She joined Waterloo in the mid 1980s and was responsible for many of the Society’s unique costume styles including medieaval, Victorian, Spanish and Mongolian.

Bert Penfold, born in 1925 passed away in April. In November 1960 Bert joined others to organise a firework display for residents. Bert then helped to revive the Waterloo Bonfire Society which had died out in the early 1900s.

He became President in 1989 and did just about everything from presenting cups at childrens’ parties to holding senior posts and was presented with Life Membership at the Society’s annual dinner in 1978.

The first recorded reference to Bonfire celebrations in Waterloo Place were in 1857.

The next year the Waterloo Bonfire Boys were reported to be ‘out in great force’ with large banners, processions, blazing tubs and torches, the burning of effigies and a ‘very large fire.’

Not much as changed, although the Society sports a sophisticated set of costumes, effigies and a memorial – and often highly controversial – tableau. The Grand tableau this year is intriguingly named ‘Twatter.’ Who knows what that will be?

Waterloo’s Grand Procession looks set to be a showstopper, with a variety of finely-worked and authentic outfits – fighters from the world-renowned Mongol empire; Puritans, Romans, Tudors (including King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth of course,) Victorians and Greeks....look out for the Minotaur.

The Waterloo Scottish Military Drum and Pipe Band, HMS Nelson Royal Naval Volunteer Band and Band of the Uckfield Fourth Holy Cross Scouts will accompany the processions.