Too many strangers at Battle bonfire

AS AN ex Battel Bonfire Boye but still a supporter I’m delighted the celebrations are curtailed this year.

Ever since the crowds of mainly Hastings people, (judging by the direction they quickly disappear to as soon as the last firework fizzles out) came to use our celebrations as cheap entertainment, it slowly destroyed our long tradition.

The hoards of people that pour into the town compared to the money raised, contributes very little towards the charity collections.

Two years ago I and my young son were unable to watch the fireworks as we were prevented from entering the Abbey field by a police cordon.

The year before that it was almost impossible and dangerous to enter the field due to the overbearing crowds.

I have fond memories of the ‘Normus Gurt Bonfires’ on the Green as a boy and as a prominent society member from the mid seventies to the early nineties.

‘Bonfire Night’ was always the best social night for local people past and present, now the overwhelming people are complete strangers.

I have voiced my concerns over recent years to society members who work hard and do a great job hosting this event.

The main question is are they investing all their efforts on a big one night’s display to entertain Hastings people and other complete strangers or are they for the Battle people who support them all year round?

I cannot blame visitors wanting to come and see such a great event and I confess to watching Hastings Bonfire a few times.

However I notice this also great event is attracting ever bigger crowds so maybe a solution for both bonfire societies is to hold them on the same night to see if the crowd problems become more manageable.

Phil Spray