Littlehampton Bonfire Society has smashed its £10,000 target for charity donations for the first time in its 65-year history.
The charity raised £10,411 this year at the bonfire celebrations on Saturday, easily surpassing its previous best of £9,283 which was set last year.
Society treasurer Richard Cooper said: “We are absolutely delighted that we have achieved our goal of breaking the £10,000 target that we have been so close to in recent years.
“It is also to the best of our knowledge a new all-time record collection for any Sussex bonfire or carnival society.
“We would like to thank all of the collectors and also the spectators who contributed to our collection buckets and helped us to reach this new record amount in our 65th year.”
The Littlehampton Coastguard Rescue Team raised £1,668, the top fundraising group, followed by the Edwin James Festival Choir which raised £1,552 and Skill Bodge, which collected £1,132.
The top individual collector accolade went to Beverley Short, who raised £530, followed by Sylvia Taylor’s £385 collection and John Taylor, who raised £269.
Veteran fundraiser Tyndall Jones, who exempted himself from the top individual collector award, achieved a total of £978.
Speaking to the Gazette before the announcement, he said: “God smiled down on us this year with the weather, and it was a great evening.
“To be quite frank, I didn’t see the procession! When I’m collecting, I go into collecting mode and I just don’t see it.
“In all my 41 years of collecting, I have never seen the bonfire lit because I’m normally at the end of the procession collecting. I’m just trying to do a job and I do it to the best of my ability.”
Rachel Stanford from the society reacted to the good news: “It is absolutely fabulous that we got that figure. There seemed to be quite a lot more people at the bonfire this year which is amazing.
“We just want to thank everyone that dug deep in their pockets to donate – we couldn’t have done it without you.”
The donations will go towards helping community projects in Littlehampton.