Littlehampton Bonfire Night spectacular set to be the biggest yet
Littlehampton is bracing itself for an eruption of bonfire celebrations – the likes of which have never been seen in the town before.
Thousands are set to bring the town to a standstill as the Littlehampton Bonfire Society stages a spectacular display to celebrate its 60th anniversary on Saturday (October 27).
No fewer than 15 different bonfire and carnival societies will be joining the bonanza, including members of the Lewes Borough Bonfire Society – the only group attending the night to have taken part in the town’s first display, in 1953.
The grand torchlight procession will feature around 70 entries from across nation – one of the largest turnouts ever to grace the festivities.
The floats will be led by last year’s winners Dancas E Cantares Da Madeira and will include the return visit of five carnival associations from the Isle of Wight – Ryde, Sandown, Ventnor, Cowes and Newport.
This year will see the members of Phoenix attempting to retain the title of best-dressed visiting society, together with the coveted Butlin Silver Challenge Trophy, which they were awarded last year.
Leading the ever-popular contingent of steam engines will be Mick Sayers with his 1921 Aveling and Porter steam-roller Naiad, whose efforts last year earned him the award for best presented steam engine.
Taking part in the procession will be this year’s Miss Bonfire, 16-year-old Chloe Roberts, of Littlehampton.
Chloe, who studies at Oak Grove College, in Worthing, will be riding in her golden carriage on Saturday night.
She is a regular volunteer at Barnardo’s charity shop, in High Street, Littlehampton and is “excited” to be taking part in the society’s diamond jubilee event but added that she was slightly nervous about her role in the ceremony.
Plenty going in town centre
In the town centre, Saturday’s festivities will be kicked off by Dignity Charity Fair Organ playing in High Street.
Following their fancy dress competitions, the society’s children will be taking part in their own procession accompanied by the T S Implacable Nautical Training Corps Band and the Arundel and Littlehampton District Scout Band.
Nine marching bands will provide the music for the parades – ranging from brass and bagpipe to jazz and samba. The Kilts of Caledonia Pipe Band have the honour of leading the torchlight part of the procession, while the musical line-up will also include debut performances at the celebrations from Brighton and Hove City Brass and the Horndean Band. Portsmouth City Band will once again lead the illuminated floats and walking groups and bringing up the rear will be members Expedient Jazz Band.
Making a welcome return will be William Coles’ funfair, by the seafront. The mammoth bonfire will be lit by the society’s commander in chief, John Burchfield and will be closely followed by the grand fireworks display.
Littlehampton Bonfire Society’s secretary Richard Cooper hopes to smash last year’s record-breaking collection sum of £9,110.
He said: “We’re proud that despite ever-increasing costs of staging our event, every penny of our collection continues to go to the charities and good causes we support.”