Northiam rises from ashes in bonfire revival

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NORTHIAM is all set to reignite the flames and play a role in the Sussex Bonfire tradition.

A Northiam Bonfire Society has already been formed with plans for a torchlit procession and fireworks display during the autumn season.

The driving force behind the move is 54 year old Nick Searle who fell in love with the spectacle and community spirit of the tradition which is unique to Sussex.

Mr Searle, a parish councillor, said: “It seems it died a death, along with other traditions in the village. I’ve been here 30 years and we used to have a May Queen and that sort of thing and we should work to get those traditional things back.”

The Society held its inaugural meeting at the Muddy Duck pub in Northiam last November.

Plans are already well underway. Northiam have formed links with the Lewes Bonfire Council, who oversee the tradition in Sussex.

Following a meeting in the village on January 14, potential sites have been identified and the society even has its own drumming section.

The society is likely to take on a distinctive highwayman theme as its image.

Fund raising ideas are being discusses and if all the plans come to fruitition there will be a traditional torch-lit procession in the village with a bonfire and fireworks display .

Northiam did have its own bonfire society more than half a century ago.

Northiam’s Linda Fairhall, 70, just remembers the original celebrations. She said: “I was only five or six and it was more a boys’ thing. The two families who were the mainstay of the society both left.”

Nick Searle was also inspired by the success if the village’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations last summer, which included fireworks and a beacon lighting.

The forming of a Northiam Bonfire Society continues a growing revival of the Sussex tradition in the Rye area.

Recent years have seen active societies springing up at Icklesham and Northiam.

Rye itself hots one of the biggest bonfire celebrations in the county, usually on the second Saturday in November. It attracts crowds of up to 20,000 people to the historic town.

The Muddy Duck held a Quiz Night yesterday (Thursday) to raise funds for the new Society.