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Community urged to support Sutton bonfire
10:18am Thursday 4th November 2010 in News
Sutton’s popular bonfire and fireworks night is under threat.
The annual event - due to take place at Crag Lane, on Sunday - is charging for the first time after voluntary donations left it struggling to break even.
Now, the voluntary organisers, who spend the year fundraising, have called on the community to support the event or risk it being cancelled in future years.
Village committee chairman David Harrison-Young said they understood that people were planning to watch the display from their homes, rather than pay to get onto the field.
“What people don’t seem to realise is that we get no funding for the event. They seem to think it is supported by the council,” he said.
“What people need to know is this is the last chance saloon and if they stay at home and don’t come along and support the event, it won’t be going ahead next year.”
The event - which features a professional firework display by expert pyrotechnics - costs around £8,000 to stage.
It has become increasingly popular and last year - even with a last minute change of venue from Holme Lane - attracted around 6,000 people.
“The fireworks alone cost £3,000 and on top of that we have all the equipment that needs to be put on the field and the insurance, which this year was increased by 110 per cent,” said Mr Harrison-Young.
This year, it will cost £4 for adults and £2 for children to attend.
In addition, organisers are placing matting at the entrance to the field to stop problems of mud experienced last year.
For the last three years, the committee has asked for voluntary donations in an effort to raise enough money to continue the event.
“Unfortunately, some people were putting in notes and other people putting in nothing at all. With all the donations, it worked out people had paid around 48p per head,” said Mr Harrison-Young.
This year’s event will be hosted by Drystone Radio presenter Bazzman - alias Basil Simonenko.
He said that the event only went ahead because of the hard work of the seven volunteers who formed the village committee.
“The public should support them and pay to get in, it’s the right thing to do,” he said.
“It would be a crying shame to see the end of the Sutton bonfire, but sadly, this will be the reality if the public tell us they don’t want to see their firework display lighting up the skies anymore and fail to support it.”
Sutton councillor, Coun Stephen Place, said the professionally-organised event was much better for the community.
“I remember the days before an organised plot night, the kids were queuing up at accident and emergency, the emergency services were stretched for the five days before and five days after plot night,” he said.
“There were youngsters lighting fireworks in the streets, criminal damage and injury. That all stopped when the organised fireworks event started and it would be very sad to see it go.”
Sunday’s event starts at 5.15pm, with the bonfire being lit at around 5.45pm and the firework display at 6.30pm.