Safety first, last

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In response to the letter ‘Barrier to safety’ from Mary Lees (Gazette, October 30), I would like to thank her for her appreciative comments on Littlehampton Bonfire Society’s Bonfire Night.

We are, I think justifiably, proud of our safety record over 62 years of staging our traditional bonfire night celebrations in the town.

To put on as safe as possible an event, both for the spectators and the participants and because of the very large crowd the event attracts, we need to enclose and protect certain areas around the route, and especially the bonfire and firework areas, with a combination of metal pins, safety fences, rope and metal barriers, the positioning of which are scrutinised during the 12-month planning of the event by both the bonfire society and the Safety Advisory Group (councils, police, fire and rescue service, bonfire society, etc).

We try to position all barriers, etc, to both protect and try to allow free movement, also so they can be removed quickly if the need to evacuate a certain area should arise. The area you were in is, for obvious reasons, one of the most barriered even under normal conditions, but our pyrotechnicians had asked for the firework fall-out safety area to be extended further east than normal, which allowed the fireworks to take place but did place further restrictions on crowd movements, before and immediately after the fireworks.

I hope this addresses Mrs Lees’ concerns and again, thank you for your appreciative comments.

John Burchfield, commander-in-chief, Littlehampton Bonfire Society

Stanley Road


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