Blackheath fireworks survive bonfire of the amenities

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."

8 comments:

Tressilliana said...

Seems a sensible way to tackle this. I won't be donating as I've never attended and won't be in the future - I loathe big crowds and massive outdoor events like this. But most people feel differently so I'm glad for them that they won't miss out, and the Fire Brigade's point is a good one.

Anonymous said...

It's no bad thing to donate the cost of a pack of sparklers to see such a huge display-and organised displays are a safer option for many people but having watched the huge display on Sunday for the Thames festival for free I am wondering who paid for it and how much did it cost

Matt-Z said...

What happened to LB Greenwich's involvement in the display?

darryl said...

Greenwich's involvement is the story that seems to have been missed, Matt. It's a curious thing bearing in mind the boroughs have worked together for at least 20 years on the display.

At a guess, Lewisham's release is probably causing a few headscratching moments at Woolwich Town Hall, bearing in mind Greenwich has been very cagey on cuts so far. But you never know...

max said...

It's the Big Society!

Anonymous said...

Alternative view...

'Mayor pleads for public to provide financial assistance to Hedge Fund Investors'

Hey said...

LBof Greenwich didn't want to pay this year it seems?

darryl said...

It's confirmed - Greenwich did pull out.

Which, I guess, means the beginning and the end of Blackheath fireworks - I doubt Lewisham will want to give the likes of me a free display on the borough boundary, when it could move it to Mountsfield Park or some other more central location.

If Lewisham Council wants any material for Guys, I'm happy to donate old copies of Greenwich Council's weekly propaganda paper.

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