Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Volunteers needed to collect at fireworks

THE future of the Henley Summer Fireworks is in doubt unless volunteers come forward to collect donations.

THE future of the Henley Summer Fireworks is in doubt unless volunteers come forward to collect donations.

Chairman Billy Pinches says he desperately needs collectors to help out tomorrow (Saturday) night.

Mr Pinches said: “We need a small army of soldiers to start in the town centre, to go through the pubs, the car parks at Henley Royal Regatta and on site.

“It is always tight and we need all the support that we can get. Without it, we cannot continue.”

Sir William and Lady McAlpine, of Fawley Hill, have agreed to underwrite the cost of this year’s event. Lady McAlpine said: “There must be people out there who don’t want to see the fireworks die.

“We need everyone to give generously and to help as much as possible or this really will be the last year we can put on a fireworks display on regatta Saturday.”

“We are now a registered charitable trust and do hope to be able to bucket rattle well enough to be able to distribute a lot of money.”

This year’s family-friendly event will be held at the Stag and Huntsman field off Marlow Road.

The gates will open from noon and there will be a hog roast, bouncy castle, refreshments, music and ice cream.

A mortar will be set off two minutes before the start of the display at 10.30pm.

Mr Pinches said: “The firework display will be as good, if not, better than last year’s when we had a special Queen’s diamond jubilee display.

“There is a family area which will be opposite Temple Island and for every car that arrives we are requesting a £5 donation.”

In 2009, Henley Royal Regatta banned the display from its land due to an increase in antisocial behaviour and damage to its land and equipment in previous years.

In 2010, Mr Pinches and members of the Henley Lions Club raised the £7,000 needed to stage the display, which was then held at Meadows Farm.

Mr Pinches said: “I am passionate about the fireworks and I want it to be something that the town can be proud of but it needs the young people to help run it — I am not going to be here forever.

“When I first started, I had letters from people who had moved out the area but still read the Standard, telling me that when they were younger if they didn’t behave then they would not be allowed to go to the fireworks.

“Some of the letters made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end — they were very moving — while they also sent cheques of between £25 and £100.”

Proceeds from the display will be donated to local charities. To be considered, send an email to Mr Pinches at billyfireworks@gmail.com

To volunteer as a collector, call Patrick Mulcahy on 07711235242.

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