Ideas on firework celebrations

Good heavens! I see there has been an incident of civil disobedience in Bexhill.

Apparently ”disgruntled” individuals set off fireworks on the Polegrove without permission!

This was after the new Bonfire Society display was banned at short notice-on perhaps, very thin [recreational] grounds.

Now I’m not some sort of killjoy and in fact my wife was hoping to attend this event but I did think the whole thing lacked a bit of imagination in the first place.

Wikki says that the bonfire Societies of Sussex and Kent began as extended pub crawls but I’m pretty sure that they were actually connected with religious/political rebellion at some level. The Lewes Parade, for example, represents a historic refusal to accept Papist rule.

This was all coupled with a long tradition of anti-establishment attitudes and danger (now being steadily repressed).

There doesn’t seem to be any shortage of these events in this part of the world so why would Bexhill want to simply model itself on the many others who think that dressing up as Johnny Depp is really original?

It reminds me of when the council had control of the DLWP and thought it would pep up poor attendance.

The “best” idea was to perhaps show films at a time when the cinema in Western Road was already successfully doing that - no longer of course.

If you look at the history of Bexhill, especially the pre-Edwardian period, there is not the complete conformism that appeared to prevail later and maybe now.

I was amused to note that those seeking to bring a bit of life to the town (a laudable aim in itself) met at the New Inn in Sidley last week.

I had already thought that an obvious first choice for a Bexhill event might be a recreation of the Battle of Sidley Green.

Of course, the same Hostelry (along with the Bell Hotel) featured in the confrontation of 1828 when smuggling brandy was the equivalent of being involved with heroin/cocaine today and just as profitable.

The discovery of villains on the beach led to the shooting of a revenue man during an ongoing conflict.

There is one story of a fish cart being dragged rapidly through the Old Town with a hand poking out from underneath the catch.

There would be a lot of scope here for dressing as smugglers and revenue troops or marauding groups like the infamous “Little Common Gang” and it would be an authentic Bexhill production-complete with gunpowder.

Failing that, the modern use of fireworks (at all times of the year and not policed by the council) can sometimes be so over the top that a more modern conflict might as well be enacted.

My home town has a World War Two Festival every year, complete with a mock Forties newspaper, tanks on the street corner, members of the Armed Services and, until a degree of nervousness set in, Nazi Storm troopers!

The whole thing is an extraordinary success and brings in a major revenue stream.

As Bexhill was in the middle of the Battle of Britain and the invasion threat, suffering limited bombing in the Old Town and elsewhere, the industrial style nature of some of the regular large firework events in the summer might as well be converted into a WW2 themed celebration.

My money would still be on the Sidley Green option but perhaps both would be a possibility?

After all we had three separate music festivals during one weekend in 2002. That almost seems as long ago now as 1828.

DAVE WALSH

Rotherfield Avenue