The number they expected was 14,000 but only 1,000 turned up.
And it was not only Lindfield Bonfire Society that suffered from the cancellation of its annual bonfire and firework display. The six charities that it supports every year with its collections will also be out of pocket after a fraction of the usual amount was thrown into buckets.
All in all, a water-logged Lindfield Common that forced cancellation of this year’s Lindfield bonfire and fireworks display was costly indeed.
Bonfire society logistics secretary Wendy Box said: “Fourteen thousand were expected but only about 1,000 turned up, therefore, the collecting buckets were very light and, unfortunately, the bonfire society and our charities will suffer financially.”
The event costs £8,000 to stage with funds being raised throughout the year and the bonfire society struggling to recruit enough helpers to make each huge celebration viable.
Wendy added: “It cost us the same to do what we did manage to do last night as to have the whole bonfire and firework display we still have the same costs and expenses.
“We lost £3,000 alone from the catering concessions who didn’t come and we have very limited funds as it is.”
The event on Monday night still took place without the bonfire or fireworks with the torch-lit parade by bonfire boys and girls and the children’s fancy dress competition in the King Edward Hall both going ahead as scheduled.
The parade was led by Lindfield Bonfire Society and the Burgess Hill Marching Band with the bonfire boys and girls trundling an enormous Guy Fawkes around the village. Joining in were Chailey and Burgess Hill Bonfire Societies and the bonfire prayer was said by the pond instead of on the common.
At the end of the parade Guy Fawkes was taken “to prison” to await his fiery end on another occasion, possibly around the time of the new year celebrations as was done when the November celebration was last cancelled in 2000.
The collections from spectators along the route of the parade and on the common raise money for Woodlands Mead School and Woodlands Mead College in Burgess Hill, Orchard House Children’s Home in Cuckfield, Riding for the Disabled, Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice and the Sussex branch of CLAPA, the Cleft Lip and Palate Association.