Many people in the village have harboured a secret ambition to start a Bonfire Society, especially when enjoying celebrations in neighbouring villages. Fears of red tape, insurance, Health and Safety and the scale of the organisation required usually put paid to such notions.
Northiam Bonfire Society came into being in 2012 as a direct result of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations. Northiam Parish Clerk, Sue Keighley, took great pains to include a wide range of people in the planning of the two day event, and over the months we found that we had a team of committed, talented people. The weekend proved a great success, involving the whole village, and culminated in a torch-lit procession from the Playing Fields to the Beacon. Villagers realised that we hadn’t lost the art of joining together and having a good time.
People wondered how we could harness this goodwill and organisational ability, and quite a few people mentioned having our own Bonfire Society.
Finally, at a Proms event held by the Conservation Society at Great Dixter, enough of us felt that we really could give it a try, and Nick Searle took the initiative, contacted Sussex Bonfire Council, and called us all together on Monday 10th December when the Society was formally founded.
The Bonfire Society exists to hold an Annual Torchlit Procession, Bonfire and Firework display for Northiam, raising the money through enjoyable events throughout the year. Like other Sussex Societies, it aims to raise money for local good causes from a street collection during the Procession.
Each Bonfire Society has one or more costumes, and Northiam have chosen to be Highwaymen in the colours of black, purple and white. We have a fledgling Drum Corps, which we hope will soon be able to rattle your bones!
NBS fundraising events have become popular in Northiam’s social calendar and have included craft fairs, quizzes, race nights, clay shoot, open gardens and treasure hunt. This year the Society held a successful Midsummer Festival Weekend on the Playing Fields, and our Procession and Bonfire will be on Saturday 4th October.