Bonfire society bids a sad farewell to another stalwart


A long-standing member of Rye Bonfire Society, who created the group’s distictive uniform, has passed away.

Ashley W Booth passed away last week aged 61.

Ashley was born in Rye and was a member of Rye Bonfire Society since birth, as have been most of his family.

The society has paid tribute to Ashley and his unwavering devotion to the group.

Neale East, secretary of the society, said: “Ashley’s commitment to Rye Bonfire has never diminished from being a pyrotechnic stalwart to always ensuring that maroons were let off on time on Armistice Day.

“Ashley was always with us for all the unpleasant jobs, clearing bonfire sites, cold and wet Sunday mornings, picking up discarded torches etc, but he is probably most noted for creating the unique Rye identity of red and black, in our case the colour of our burning boat.

“Prior to the reformation of the society we had not really had a uniform identity anything like the stripes of the Lewes societies but Ashley came up with black waistcoats, red jumpers and of course top hats, in fact he made nearly all of our top hats and I am sure that most of us, however old they may be, are still proud to wear them today.

“If you were to cut Ashley in half you would read Rye Bonfire all the way through.”

The society has expressed its condolences to Ashley’s family.

Ashley is the third long-standing member of Rye Bonfire Society to pass away in 2016. John Izod and Jimper Sutton, both stalwarts of Rye Bonfire Society, passed away earlier this year - John in April and Jimper in June.

Last month, both had their ashes blasted into the sky in the final rocket of this year’s Rye bonfire event, much to the delight of the rain-soaked crowd.

Jimper, the life president of Rye Bonfire Society, died on June 20 following a battle with cancer. John, a Rye town councillor, passed away on April 7 after a short illness. He was 80.