Disappointed to see that the Newick Bonfire Society has got on the same bandwagon as the Lewes Bonfire Council by saying the bonfire celebrations are for village residents only (Sussex Express 31 Oct).
I’d always assumed that in Lewes this was said just to mollify the police, who would have stopped bonfire many years ago if they could have had their way.
I enjoyed the spectacular show put on by Newick on November 1 as did the thousands of people gathered around the green and through the village.
I don’t live in Newick, so it appears that officially my family and I were unwelcome intruders. Yet, I have an affinity to Newick because my mother’s family lived in the village for centuries; at Colonels Bank, at Ox Bottom, Jackies Lane, on the Common and on the Green. But me, I’m not a resident so I’m not welcome at bonfire.
On the other hand, people who have come into the village because they can afford the price of houses in Newick are welcome to enjoy a tradition that my ancestors helped establish, while I can be excluded.
In reality, the bonfire celebrations are enhanced by visiting societies adding to the parade, and by spectators from the surrounding towns and villages.
Societies want to proceed along roads lined with happy crowds, not on empty streets with only a handful of people watching.
Like any show, bonfire needs an audience so that the participants feel its all been worthwhile. It’s time the bonfire societies stood up to the kill-joy attitude and refused to approve these ‘residents only’ statements.