Rye Bonfire 2008

Rain stops as Procession gets under way.

The heavy rain that fell in bucket loads at Icklesham Bonfire on the fifth continued through to Saturday and threatened to disrupt the proceedings at Rye.

Rain and wind made it a difficult job constructing the bonfire and looked as if it would continue throughout the evening. Mercifully is abated around five o” clock and had stopped completely when the torchlight procession set off from Tilling Green at 7-45.

Members of Rye Bonfire Society enjoy their night out
Members of Rye Bonfire Society enjoy their night out

Many marching bands, including a pipe band and the Battle and Rye drummers, set the pace for Bonfire Societies in large costumed groups who made up a lively procession and created the usual carnival feel to the age old event.

It is truly amazing that the Bonfire Boys can put on such a great show with the restrictions imposed on them by European Health & Safety regulations.

Rye's Night of Fire
Rye’s Night of Fire

Long ago fireworks were banned from the streets and the bloater boat was stopped because of fears that the would not be properly cook. Slowly they have had to tone down and now almost fade out the traditional burning boat (The emblem of the Society) that once got so hot it melted telephone wires and blistered the paint off doors in The Mint, and now Rye Fawkes, who’s journey in the famous sedan chair from the Rye Lodge carried on the shoulders of four willing firemen to the giant pyre, was first shortened to start from the Landgate Tower and this year has been down graded once again as the Health & Safety regulations decreed that too much weight was being carried by the firemen and the chair, complete with passenger must now be transported on wheels!

New Health & Safety Regulations do away with age old tradition.
New Health & Safety Regulations do away with age old tradition.

Despite the restrictions the crowd, estimated at 5,000, enjoyed themselves and in defiance of the ‘credit crunch’, put a record amount of money into the buckets.

Well done Rye Bonfire Society and thank you for a brilliant evening. You deserved the ‘window in the weather’. No sooner had the last firework finished the rain started again and continued throughout the night.

Torchlight Procession reaches Tower Street
Torchlight Procession reaches Tower Street

Plans are already under way for the 2009 Bonfire but the Society members are worried what new obstacle might be put in their way by Health & Safety Officials. Is it not about time that this all powerful body put some effort into improving the safety standard of our highways and looked into ways of getting more cycle roads constructed? This would be more to their credit than forcing our traditional events to restrict their activities to tame shadows of their former selves.

“Rye’s Own” December 2008

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