Rye Observer Comment: Rye Bonfire... dark, primal and energetic

SUSSEX Bonfire is in the news for the wrong reasons at the moment with reports of people being injured at last week’s big event in Lewes.

Rye, which holds its big bonfire event on Saturday, has an excellent safety record.

In all the years we have been reporting on this spectacular event we cannot remember a serious injury or incident despite thousands of people attending each year, and long may it continue.

Rye bonfire was not always like that though – turn the clock back a few hundred years and you would be looking at a night of lawless, fiery mayhem.

It is not by accident that Rye Bonfire Society has as its emblem a burning boat.

In those days bonfire was often seen as a chance to settle old scores and boat owners could find their craft seized, set alight, and dragged through the streets.

We are not advocating a return to those wild days and would not want to see anyone hurt or injured, but people are mistaken if they view events such as this as safe family friendly firework displays. They are dark, primal, energetic occasions unique to this part of the world and indeed, that is their attraction for many who will be lining the streets of Rye on Saturday,

Last year, following bonfire celebrations at Battle one disgruntled woman wrote in to complain of “ear-splitting bangs” which were ruining a “family event”.

There are plenty of well organised, small family friendly events at this time of year, such as those at Icklesham and Winchelsea Beach.

Rye Bonfire Society is absolutely right when it points out “This is a Sussex custom, not a carnival or normal fireworks display. There will be loud bangs.

“If you are nervous of frightened it is best to stay away.”


BATTLE OBSERVER COMMENT: Olympic Flame at Battle Abbey... details are sketchy

EARLIER this week a joyus English Heritage press release arrived at the office announcing the Olympic Flame was coming to Battle Abbey.

Initially this sounded like great news, and one would automatically assume it would be taken through the streets of Battle up to the towering gatehouse, with residents turning out to witness this spectacle.

But a quick look at the official Torch Relay route shows that Battle appears to have been shunned, with the torchbearers instead taking a coastal route through Pevensey Bay, Bexhill and Hastings before heading up to Rye.

The details are still a bit sketchy over the Battle Abbey visit, and it is not clear when the torch will arrive.

And having put calls in to various agencies, it is not even clear whether there will be a chance for residents to see the torch or whether there will be just a quick photoshoot within the Abbey walls for the eyes of a select few only.

Of course it is great news that the torch is coming to Battle Abbey.

But it would be even better news if the townsfolk get a chance to see it.

• Two weeks on from the unprovoked attack which left a former Ninfield pupil in a coma, police are still appealing for information to help them catch the person responsible (page five).

Investigators say the attacker is likely to have confided in someone.

If you know who is responsible for leaving Mo Bourner hooked up to a life support machine and you have one shred of humanity in your body, make that call to Sussex Police on 101.