Popular bonfire event under threat

A previous year's lantern procession.
A previous year's lantern procession.

A COMMUNITY bonfire and lantern procession has been scrapped after 20 years due to a funding crisis.

The organisers of the event at High Bentham, which is attended by around 3,000 people every October, have not been able to source enough money to stage it this year.

It involves a series of lantern workshops where families make lanterns to use in the evening procession. That is followed by a bonfire and firework display at the auction mart.

Press and marketing officer for the bonfire committee, Anna Miller said: “We decided to take the difficult step to cancel the event.

“Last year’s numbers were down considerably due to the appalling weather, and this is largely why we cannot afford to put on the event this year.

“Although the lantern procession is always subject to funding, it is the bonfire part which we need to find money for. One doesn’t happen without the other.”

Despite the disappointment of this year’s event being cancelled, a new bonfire committee is in place and it is confident that the the spectacle will return in 2013.

Mrs Miller added: “This is one of the main events on Bentham’s calendar and is really important in bringing the community together.

“It would be a real shame if we were to lose this vibrant event. It brings in lots of people from outside Bentham and is particularly beneficial for the local caravan site and pubs.”

She said new members had been recruited to the committee and would be focussing on fundraising over the next 15 months.

“We have some great ideas for making the event really spectacular,” she added.

“We want to build on all of the hard work that the previous committee put in and make it a financially sustainable event.

“Therefore we have a lot of fundraising to do.”

The event has now been sponsored before but organisers are now calling on local businesses to come forward to sponsor it.

Anyone able to help should contact Miss Miller on 015242 61907.