Long-standing bonfire event loses its spark

Gregson Bonfire and Fireworks
Gregson Bonfire and Fireworks

A community bonfire and fireworks event in Lancaster has been cancelled due to a lack of funding.

The Freehold and Ridge Community Bonfire and Fireworks event will not be taking place this weekend due to a £1,000 shortfall in funds.

The event has been organised on Miss Whalley’s Field, a patch of public land between The Ridge and Freehold, by the Gregson Community Association for the last 10 years.

It had been previously organised by the owners of the corner shop in Ullswater Road.

Billy Pye, chair of the Gregson Community Association said there were not enough people involved in the organising team to raise the cash needed for the event.

Mr Pye said: “We’ve been organising it for the last 10 years.

“And we took it on because it was about maintaining community use on Miss Whalley’s Field at least once a year.

“We spend the whole year raising funds for the bonfire and the cost comes to about £2,500 which includes the fireworks, pyrotechnician, insurance and sundries.

“Everyone who does it volunteers their time in advance and in the clean up afterwards.

“Over the years it has gradually got more expensive.

“The event has become so successful we’ve had to pay more for the public liability insurance.Hundreds of people come and we’ve had to increase the costs but this year we’ve not raised enough money to put the event on.

“This is mainly due to there being very few people now involved to help raise the funds.

“We’ve done various things over the years but it’s mainly raised through gigs at the Gregson Centre.”

Mr Pye said the event had always been free and the group wanted to maintain that for the future.

He also said that if more people were involved to help out then hopefully the event could continue next year.

He added: “The city council put on the fireworks in the city centre every year and that’s great, but this event allows people to get a bit closer with more of a traditional feel to it.”

The Gregson Community Association said that there are six people who organise, amongst other events, the Bonfire & Firework display, the Gregson Halloween Fair & Disco and the Santa’s Sleigh which goes around The Ridge and Freehold every year, and that more help was “desperately needed”.

To get involved email gregsonfestivalgroup@aol.com or search for Gregson Festival Group on Facebook.

Bolton-le-Sands holds an annual bonfire on its community centre playing field. This year the event is ticket only, and takes place on Saturday November 7. Tickets are £5 each and free for pre-school age children.

The Vale of Lune Rugby Club is holding a bonfire event on Friday November 6.

Tickets are only available in advance and there will be none available on the door.

Garstang Community Centre also holds an event on Saturday, November 7.