Atrocious weather spoils Berwick's main bonfire event

It was a wet and windy weekend for bonfire and fireworks celebrations in north Northumberland.

Wednesday, 9th November 2016, 12:25 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 16:01 pm
Fireworks at Alnwick. Picture by Steve Miller.

Berwick’s main organised bonfire was held at Cornhill Road in Tweedmouth for the first time.

A downpour just as it was scheduled to begin on Friday evening may have deterred some but there were still lots of specators there to show their support and try to enjoy themselves as best they could.

Organisers Matthew Leiper and Allan Malone took to Facebook to thank all who had braved the weather.

They posted: ‘Just a quick thank-you to every business and every person that donated towards our fireworks display and a massive thank-you to everyone that helped on the night and behind the scenes.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

‘Last but not least, thanks to all the public who braved the weather and supported the event. Well done everyone.’

Schoolchildren who did their bit by making guys for the bonfire were also thanked.

Elsewhere, the weather was marginally better, though still cold and windy, for some decent fireworks displays on Saturday night but the rain returned on Sunday .

Figures from Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service show that call-outs on Bonfire Night were at an all-time low this year, down to seven from 10 last year. Crews also responded to six bonfires which were deemed to be safe and did not require action.

The total number of calls to Fire Control on Saturday has almost halved since last year with 36 calls received compared to 68 the previous year. Out of these calls, three were deemed not to require action and a crew didn’t need to respond to the incident which is one less than last year.

Unfortunately, there was two incidents of violence at work this year where crews were subjected to abuse from members of the public when they responded to incidents on Poplar Avenue in Blyth and Howling Lane in Alnwick.

Chief fire officer Paul Hedley said: “I’m delighted that this year’s Bonfire night statistics are so low.

“If we look back a little less than ten years ago, the amount of calls Fire Control has received has dropped a massive 85% from 233 in 2007 to just 36 this year. These low figures are a credit to how hard our officers and members of the community have worked to make sure everyone enjoys a safe Bonfire night.

“The incidents in Alnwick and Blyth where a crews were subject to abusive behaviour from members of the public is really disappointing. Our firefighters work tirelessly on and around Bonfire night to protect the public and it’s unfortunate that this isn’t appreciated at times.

“We’ve seen this type of incident every year for the past three years but thankfully it is still only a small minority of individuals.

“I’d like to thank and congratulate our teams and partners who are extremely dedicated and who continue to show professionalism, skill and hard work on what is typically the busiest night of the year.

“We’d also like to thank event organisers and community members for their cooperation throughout the Bonfire night period.

“We will continue to work together to further reduce the number of incidents and improve public safety.”

Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service work closely with other emergency services in the region on and around Bonfire night to get key fire safety messages out in schools, on social media and in the general community.

By working with partners NFRS is also able to ensure that NFRS Fire Control is notified of planned events and Bonfires so that they are better able to assess what actions might be required from the service should they receive a call.