With every area of Council spending under pressure and public goods like libraries being threatened with closure, the Council is attempting to secure the annual Blackheath firework display's future, asking for the public to donate. Here's the release:
Blackheath Fireworks has established itself as one of the biggest, best, and most popular free fireworks displays in the capital. But no public activity can be immune to the effects of cuts in public spending so the Mayor of Lewisham is asking pyrotechnophiles all over London to join him by digging into their pockets to ensure that the Blackheath fireworks don’t end up as damp squibs this year and to keep the event going.
Last year some 80,000 people flocked to the historic heath to see a stunning display. The whole event costs less than £1.50 a head – about the cost of a packet of sparklers. This year the event will again be generously backed by independent fund management company GLC Ltd, who have been involved with the Blackheath Fireworks display since 1994.
Council funding for events like this has come under intense pressure as Government cuts begin to bite. But Lewisham Council is keen to give those who value the event the chance to play their part in keeping it going and has agreed with the sponsor to launch a public appeal to allow people to support the event by making a donation – large or small.
Mayor of Lewisham, Sir Steve Bullock, said: “We know that many people come back year after year to enjoy the spectacle of the Blackheath Fireworks display and it continues to attract new devotees all the time. Money is tight at the moment as we all know. But I don’t want to see this event cancelled without giving people the chance to show their support. Just £1 each from every one who attends would ensure that the skies sparkle as usual over the heath this year.”
Lawrence Staden, managing director of GLC Ltd, and sponsor of the event, said: “We feel that the existence of a free, safe display for residents around the wider Blackheath area is very important and remain committed to supporting the event.”
Lewisham Fire Service is backing the appeal. Matt Herrington, Lewisham station manager, said: "There is no doubt that well organised public displays are the safest way to enjoy fireworks. On Bonfire Night firefighters already receive and attend twice as many calls than on an average day. Pubic displays help to prevent this figure from rising even further."