UTTOXETER’S annual bonfire and firework display will go ahead after overcoming flooding and changes in European legislation which had threatened the event.
The site of the bonfire organised by Uttoxeter Lions had been under threat by flooding on the recreation ground next to the leisure centre after one of the wettest summers on record.
An additional obstacle was put in the organiser’s way when new rules on the transport of waste wood were introduced which meant the firework display on November 3 might have had to go ahead without the bonfire.
Lions spokesman Gary Hudson told the Advertiser: “One of the distinctive attractions of our event is that it still has a traditional bonfire — part of a 400 year heritage nationally and nearly 40 years locally.
‘We were worried by the floods but it now looks as if the bonfire can be built in the usual place, which has remained above the water level.” He explained that the fire cannot be built elsewhere on the field because the path to the site has been specially widened for lorries delivering wood.
The European directive came as a bolt out of the blue because it suggested the Lions and other volunteers wouldn’t be allowed to handle the firewood.
The club had to register with the Environment Agency to qualify for exemption as a charity.
Mr Hudson said: “It seems like unnecessary red tape, but that’s what voluntary organisations are up against all the time these days.
“We’re grateful to East Staffordshire Borough Council and JCB, who have more experience of these things, and after their advice, we can now go ahead legally and safely.” The bonfire is Uttoxeter Lions Club’s biggest fundraising event of the year and regularly raises thousands of pounds for good causes.
However organisers insist the event is affordable for families while guaranteeing that the firework display will be just as long and just as spectacular as ever.
A unique feature of the Uttoxeter event is that there are up to 30 Guy Fawkes on top of the fire made by children at Picknalls First School every year.
Gates to the field open at 6.15pm with the fire lit at 7pm and the fireworks display at 7.30pm.
There will be hot and cold refreshments, including for the first time a hog roast, and a bouncy castle and slide if the condition of the field allows. Flashing novelties and glowsticks will be also on sale.
Tickets are now on sale at the usual local outlets, including the Spar shops at Ashbourne Road, Kingfisher Way and Rocester, Denstone Village Shop, JS News, Uttoxeter Shop in Market Place, Stop n Shop in Davies Drive, Premier S&A in Windsor Road and Willisfords Jewellers, Janda News, Redfern’s Cottage Museum of Uttoxeter Life, and the You In Mind Cafè, all in Carter Street.
Tickets are also available from Lions Club members in the Maltings on Saturday mornings, up to and including the November 3.
Prices by ticket in advance are £15 for a family ticket admitting two adults and three children, or £4 for individual tickets. Admission for adults or children on the night is £5 each. There is no charge for children under four.