Fund Raiser Kevin

Rye Auctioneer is Tireless Charity Fund Raiser

Auctioneer Kevin Hall, well known at Rye Auction Galleries, has been active again this year at Charity Auction of Promises raising thousands of pounds selling anything from two nights at one of Rye’s best known hotels to a snazzy tie donated by a local shop.

Rye Bonfire Society, ARRCC and Robin Hood Bonfire Society have all benefited from his persuasive selling style as he squeezes bids out of anyone feeling in a slightly charitable mood. Among his greatest sales was a watercolour by Rye artist, , creator of Captain Pugwash, this fetched £500. He has also sold balloon flights, air trips around Rye, a man and his van for the afternoon, handy man for a day (he wasn’t much good at anything but did live just round the corner), a trip to the House of Commons, bottles of whisky signed by the prime Minister and countless meals at restaurants and hotels around the area.

All for good causes

The money raised at the bonfire auctions goes towards fireworks for the two great pyrotechnic displays that rival those of any seen anywhere in Sussex. All cash raised from collections at the two events, wich totals several thousand pounds goes to local charities and good causes.

Kevin is not only auctioneer at the Icklesham event but this year, is Chairman of the Robin Hood Bonfire Society.

The Icklesham Society are based, as the name implies , at the Robin Hood public house. They hold their celebrations on “the fifth” whatever day of the week it falls on, comemorating the deeds of Guy Fawkes and his collegues on the actual date of the gunpowder plot. Part of their rictual is the chanting of the gunpowder verse “I see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot” immediately after the flames from the fire reaches the effigy of Guy Fawkes perched on the top of the pyre.

Icklesham Tradition

It has been a tradition at Icklesham to auction the honour of lighting the fire which was usually brought by a gandma or grandpa allowing their grandson or grandaughter to be carried on a sedan chair at the head of the procession to the bonfire where they would be allowed to put a torch to the mighty pile of pallets. £80 was usually about the price of this honour.

This year the plan was changed and the famous Rye pop singers, the Cheeky Girls, were invited to start the blaze. On a stinking wet night they did more than light the fire, they set Icklesham ablaze with their genuine warm spirit for the occasion. Sporting a single umbrella between them they marched through the mud and laughed at the rain. One old chap who said he had been to every Bonfire ever held at Icklesham, described them as “Stunners”. He was pleased they had braved the weather to delight the two thousand plus crowd who stood drenched to the skin and muddied up to their knees watching the procession, fireworks and bonfire.

Rye’s Own February 2011