ORGANISERS of a Henley fireworks display say they will honour their pledge to waive the entrance fee for next month’s event following a flop a year ago.
Almost 2,000 people were left disappointed when last year’s 42nd annual show at Swiss Farm, off Marlow Road, was called off on the night to due to a technical hitch.
Henley Round Table, which organises the display, said afterwards that it couldn’t offer refunds but that anyone who had a bought a ticket would be able to attend this year’s event free.
The group said this would be “based on trust”.
This week, Round Table member George Thomas confirmed that this pledge would be honoured. He said: “There will be a bucket for donations on the gate but everyone who came last year can come for free.
“On the gate we’re going to ask people ‘did you come last year?’ If they say ‘yes’ we’ll let them come in, if they say ‘no’ we will suggest a donation. Effectively, everyone can come in for free.”
Last year the 1,800-strong crowd waited 45 minutes for the display to start before being told it was being called off.
The organisers tried in vain to solve the problem but were eventually forced to announce that the 20-minute show couldn’t go ahead because of a problem with the firing system.
Afterwards Alan Christie, founder and managing director of Skyburst The Firework Company, wrote to the Henley Standard apologising.
He said it was the first time in the company’s 33-year history it had been forced to cancel a display due to a technical failure.
Mr Thomas said this year’s fireworks display would be double the normal size to try and make up for last year’s disappointment.
He said: “We’re very aware that we owe Henley a really good display this year and we hope people won’t be disappointed. It should be a really good evening.
“Skyburst, the company who had the issue, are going back to the old-fashioned way. They are going to go round lighting the fireworks by hand so there are no electronics.
“If people decide, once they’ve seen the fantastic firework display, that they want to dip their hands into their pockets on the way out we’ll have some buckets there.”
The event will be held on Saturday, November 5. Gates open at 6.15pm, the bonfire will lit at 6.45pm with the fireworks at 7.30pm.
Entertainment includes a hog roast, mulled wine, beer from Lovibonds and Rebellion breweries and fairground rides, subject to the weather.
All donations will go to Bishopswood School in Sonning Common.