Monday, 24 June 2019

Threat to summer fireworks

Threat to summer fireworks

THIS year’s Henley summer fireworks are in jeopardy.

Town councillor Will Hamilton and volunteer Richard Reed have decided not to raise the £12,000 needed to stage the display, which tradiotionally takes places on the eve of finals day at Henley Royal Regatta.

The pair have  led successful appeals to pay for the display in the last three years but now they feel unable to do this again.

Mr Reed explained: “The big problem is we feel we can’t, in our hearts, go back to the same generous people year after year and, as with all things, sometimes it needs fresh blood.

“If someone else takes over they’ll have a different set of friends they can approach for the first time so a new face will probably find it a bit easier. We really enjoyed doing it but it is really hard work and I think it’s probably the right time for new people to take it over.

“Ideally, one big corporation or company will come and say ‘we’ll pay for everything’

“We sincerely hope that there is someone out there who would like to take on the challenge of raising the £12,000 needed to see the skies of our town lit up for yet another year.

“It would be terribly sad if it was to go. It’s a wonderful display and to see the faces of everybody on the bridge on the night enjoying the fireworks is a wonderful thing.

“The firework display is steeped in the very history of our town.”

Councillor Hamilton said: “It’s not relinquishing responsibility, we’re just going about it in a different way in the hope that an individual or organisation comes forward to support the fireworks.

“The reality is myself and Richard have done it for three years and that’s £36,000 we have raised and it gets harder and harder as the town’s organisations pull back.

“I’m delighted that we have managed to take it on from where it was and give the people the enjoyment over the last three years because it’s a spectacle, a lovely evening beside the river at the end of racing.

“The organisation is all set up. If someone comes forward with £12,000 then Fantastic Fireworks are ready to make them happen.

“The regatta has very kindly confirmed £1,500 again.

The display display dates back 125 years and used to take place on regatta land.

In recent years it has been held on land owned by the Crockett family at Sham Hill, near Remenham. Before this, it took place for several years at Meadows Farm, off Marlow Road, on land owned by Billy Pinches, who has since left the area.

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