Thousands visit town’s fireworks spectacular

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THOUSANDS lined the streets on Saturday evening for the Bonfire Night procession, before the crowd surged towards the seafront to witness the lighting of the bonfire and spectacular fireworks display.

An estimated 20,000 people came not just from Hastings and St Leonards, but from all over 1066 country and beyond, to join in the celebrations.

Platforms were packed at railway stations such as Ashford, Eastbourne, Battle, and Lewes.

Keith Leech, honorary president of the Hastings Borough Bonfire Society, said: “It went extremely well. There was a lovely atmosphere, really friendly.

“Because the weather was so nice, we had people coming down not knowing anything was on, and then staying for the celebrations.”

Following the lighting of the East Hill beacon, 1,200 people took part in the torch-lit procession, which passed through the Old Town, into the town centre, and back along the seafront.

Giving an idea of the scale of the procession, it took half an hour from beginning to end to pass a single point.

Always topical, this year’s bonfire effigy, chavs and vultures, was symbolic of those who are intent on causing trouble, and members of society who take what they can get, without giving anything back.

Councillor Peter Chowney, lead member for marketing at Hastings Borough Council, said: “There was a wonderful atmosphere across the town, with thousands of spectators crammed onto the pavements watching the procession go by whilst eagerly awaiting the firework display – which certainly lived up to expectations.

“I’d like to thank the Bonfire Society for organising the event and ensuring its success year after year and also Renegade Pyrotechnics, all local volunteers, who really put the fire into fireworks.

“I must also thank our cleaning contractors, Veolia and Quadron who were out in force on Sunday morning making sure the streets were spotless.”

Mr Leech commented on the large number of extremely drunk teenagers at Saturday’s event, saying that this had been his main concern.

“The majority were not local, but coming in from outside the town. The young people of Hastings are actually extremely responsible,” he said.

“At the same time, there is a minority of extremely young people, who are turning out and ruining it for absolutely everyone.”

A spokesman for St John’s Ambulance added: “We had just over 20 casualties, which for the number of people out is very good.

“There were no significant burn injuries.”