Bonfire Night to go ahead as new secretary found

Littlehampton Bonfire Night in 2016
Littlehampton Bonfire Night in 2016

A new secretary for the Littlehampton Bonfire Society has been found, quelling fears that this year’s bonfire could be the last.

Joan Newman from Littlehampton was appointed to the role following the appeal last month.

The 66-year-old joined the society at age five, and left 15 years later while pregnant with her daughter.

Joan said she heard about the appeal through Facebook and the Gazette, and responded because she was ‘horrified to think that this celebration may cease due to a lack of help’.

The grandmother of five found out she had got the position at the beginning of this month, and said her goal is to bring other former members back into the fray.

She added: “Hopefully they will bring their grandchildren too!”

To any young people considering joining the society, she said: “When they have done it once, they will want to do it again. It’s a very fun-filled, enjoyable night.”

Joan will be juggling the role with her part-time job in an office doing accounts, her volunteering work at Georgian Gardens Community Primary School in Rustington and the market she runs in East Preston.

But she said one more spinning plate does not daunt her: “That isn’t a problem.

“When you ask a busy person to do something they will always find the time.”

Joan remembers making torches for the bonfire as a young child – and said her fondest memory was the ‘camaraderie’ among members.

Society chairman Allen Alderton said he was ‘delighted’ to welcome her to the group.

He said: “We are very grateful to her for answering our appeal. However, we are still urgently in need of more people to join the society and get involved in the preparations for the event throughout the year.”

The society is now planning for the 65th annual bonfire on October 28.

Mr Alderton said new volunteers had come forward to make the torches, but they would like to hear from more, and still need volunteers the week before the event to build the bonfire.

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