Saturday, 31 July 2021

Lack of support for regatta fireworks

THE organiser of the regatta fireworks says he was disheartened by a lack of support for the event.

Billy Pinches, who has organised the display since 2010, opened his field at Meadow Farm, off Marlow Road, from 11am on Saturday and offered a hog roast, bar, bouncy castle, jazz quartet and face painting.

But many visitors made a donation to park their cars at the site and then walked to the riverbank where there was a Pimm’s bar.

Mr Pinches said: “I am disappointed at what happened and a bit disheartened. People were parking in the car park for a donation and then going down through the gate to the river. I never felt as low as I did on Saturday night.”

Mr Pinches took over responsibility for the fireworks with the help of Henley Lions and Lady McAlpine, of Fawley Hill, after the regatta stopped allowing the display to take place on its land.

Now he is considering downsizing the fireworks to reduce the cost in future years. The display lasts 12 minutes and cost £1,000 per minute. The fireworks have to reach a height of 800ft to be seen throughout the regatta site, which increases the cost.

Mr Pinches said: “The fireworks were absolutely stunning but I think we are going to have to rethink the whole thing.

“If we had lower level fireworks it would save us £2,500 to £3,000, or if we had a big sponsor that would help.

“People think everything just falls into place but months of work had gone into this.”

Since he took over running the display it has raised more than £10,000 for charity.

Money raised this year will go to charities including the sea cadets, Regatta for the Disabled, Riding for the Disabled and Helen and Douglas House.

Mr Pinches said: “People were coming up to me and saying ‘cheer up, it’s not your fault’ but my charity work has turned into a passion in my life and I just feel like I’ve let everyone down.”

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