Fri, 07 Oct 2016
Newbury’s largest fireworks display is officially back on, with the help of the Newbury Weekly News.
Six weeks ago the NWN revealed that the popular display would have to be called off for the first time in 35 years, after organisers said they couldn’t afford to pay for enhanced traffic measures, while there were also other issues.
But after weeks of discussion, the Lions Club of Newbury, which puts on the event, and Newbury Racecourse, which hosts it, have managed to reach an agreement.
This year’s event will take place on Saturday, November 12.
The NWN has contributed £500 towards the additional costs the Lions Club of Newbury will incur and has also facilitated meetings between the Lions and Newbury Racecourse.
Organisers admit they have ‘taken a risk’, but say they have listened and responded to the public’s concerns.
Events co-ordinator Judith Colby said: “We have a big task ahead of us, trying to do in less than six weeks what normally takes months of planning.
“I am appealing to everyone in the community to support our efforts so we can produce a display that is up to our usual high standards.”
Newbury Weekly News editor Andy Murrill said: “We are delighted to have played a part in getting this popular event up and running again.
“I hope the people of Newbury now rally behind the Lions by offering support for the event and, of course, turning out in their thousands on Saturday, November 12.”
However, with less than six weeks to go until the big event, organisers are appealing for people to help in any way they can – be it volunteering or providing financial assistance.
Lions Club of Newbury president Drew Watson said: “We had a magnificent response from the public when we announced that we would not be holding our fireworks event this year.
“Although not ideal due to some additional costs, we have decided to take the risk and hope that the public will support us at the fireworks event.”
Over the years, the fireworks display has raised in excess of £250,000 for charity and last year there was a record attendance.
However, a series of traffic problems for people leaving the site, with some vehicles left abandoned and queues of cars taking hours to leave, put this year’s event in jeopardy.
This year, the single point of access to the racecourse for the fireworks display will be via the new bridge from Hambridge Road. Extra car parking spaces will also be available.
Newbury Weekly News chief executive James Gurney said: “The annual fireworks display is a wonderful event that is much-loved by families in West Berkshire.
“We were very disappointed to hear that it had been cancelled, so we made a few phone calls to see if we could help get it back on.
“As a committed community newspaper, we are delighted to have played a part in saving the fireworks display and we hope the Lions raise a lot of money for charity on November 12. “
NWN chairman Jeremy Willis added: “We are delighted that the Lions’ fireworks display at the racecourse is back on track again.
“So many charities benefit from the money raised at this event owing to the hard work of the Lions and the great support from the racecourse.
“This is one of the highlights in the Newbury calendar and it benefits the community in which we all serve.”
Over the next few weeks the Newbury Weekly News will be publishing more information about ticket sales and the best way of accessing the racecourse by car.