PICTURES: Bad weather can’t banish bonfire spirit

Rye Bonfire 2016. Photo by Frank Copper SUS-161114-072658001
Rye Bonfire 2016. Photo by Frank Copper SUS-161114-072658001

Saturday’s wet weather did little to dampen spirits when thousands turned out to take part in Rye’s bonfire celebrations.

The streets were packed as bonfire societies and drumming groups from across Sussex carried blazing torches in a procession through the town, which eventually made its way to the fire-site on The Salts.

The procession was led by the Rye Society, who were joined by a Town Crier.

Highlights included Rye’s fire burning dragon and the burning boat, which is a long standing emblem of Rye Bonfire.

As usual Rye Fawkes was chaired down to the Salts by Roman Legionnaires from Robertsbridge, to light the bonfire.

This year’s celebrations also marked the end of a particular era with the loss, earlier this year, of Rye Bonfire stalwarts and much loved local characters, Jimper Sutton and John Izod.

Ever-present John was a chairman of the Society, while Jimper was a familiar part of the procession, with his collecting bucket, dressed as a pirate, complete with parrot on his shoulder.

A knowledgeable countryman, who grew up in the Rye area, Jimper published several volumes of memoirs called ‘Jimper’s Jottings, which raised funds for the Bonfire Society. Both were immortalised in this year’s bonfire effigy which showed caricatures of John and Jimper astride a rocket with the words ‘Our Final Trip’. Their ashes were launched sky-ward in the last big rocket of a stunning firework display.

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