Dozens of people have come to the defence of Rye Bonfire Society after it was criticised by some for having a ‘Poppy’ tableaux on the bonfire.
Nakita Manlow, who attended the event, said: “I am appalled at the choice of effigy. Not only was it distasteful but disrespectful too.
“ If their intention was to celebrate the WW1 centenary, RBS were short sighted. There was no consideration to the way this would have been inferred by others.”
Connie Cee, commenting on Facebook, claimed she was ‘disgusted’.
But her comments caused a storm of protest from others in the town who saw it as an act of respect and remembrance from the Society.
Colonel Anthony Kimber, President of Rye Royal British Legion, said: “I raised the issue with officers of the Rye Bonfire Society. I was reassured” that the purpose was to mark and remember.
“I did not witness the “burning” but envisaged what might happen. In my view the national symbol of Remembrance could have been given a prominent position at the event without destroying the display. There are differing views of Remembrance, but to burn the symbol of sacrifice and Remembrance was at best, naive and ill-judged.”
Rye Bonfire Society issued a statement on Monday to say: “The Tableaux created to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War, was made in remembrance and to raise the profile of the Poppy appeal and the good work the British Legion does.”The Tableaux was lit by red lances only and was not exploded, this was not an effigy. Rye Bonfire was not making a protest, nor was it making any statement other than to highlight Remembrance, and we very much regret any offence this may have caused
“The Fact the tableaux was burned after discharge had no intended significance, any thinking differently that this was anything but an act of remembrance is regrettable.
“Rye Bonfire supports the Rye Branch of the Royal British Legion in helping with the Remembrance Day service organisation and through donations and will continue to do so.”
But many thought the Society had no need to apologise.
Barry Thomas, from Hastings, said: “I was heartened to see the respectful commemoration .”
Andy Pilbeam said: “It is simply disgusting that an apology has had to be given for something so obviously done as nothing less than a mark of upmost respect .”
Tim fellows said: “Poppies in fireworks have been a feature of Bonfire since the 1920’s As a descendant of a number of Bonfire Boys who gave their lives for this country, I am shocked and disgusted at the criticism of Rye Bonfire Society in paying a tribute.”
Andrew Parry said: “My son and I thought the tribute was both striking and fitting.”