The Happiest Rye Fawkes

The Happiest Rye Fawkes

The Emergency Ward Ten team that came to Rye for the Bonfire Celebrations produced the Town’s happiest ever Rye Fawkes in the person of Pamela Duncan, better known as “Sister Doughty.” The celebrities conducted the judging of the tableaux as the procession passed the George Hotel in the High Street. Their unanimous choice for first prize, both in its class and overall, to Witches Potion, a magnificently made entry that “cast a spell” over all who saw it. First prize in the Topical class, and second overall, was awarded to “Timber-tops” by the Oast House Boys. Rye’s Own had their entry highly commended in this class.

Pamela Duncan

“Doughty” won the hearts of everyone she came in contact with, especially the children—each one for whom she found time to have a word.

The hazardous journey from the High Street to the Bonfire in the now famous Sedan Chair, that has carried many exciting celebrities to the great pyre on the Salts, is a test on the nerves of any Rye Fawkes and must have been especially nerve rack­ing for a lady.

What a sight it was as the Rye Fawkes party came through the Landgate on the way to light the Bonfire. Led by the Band of the Rye Sea Cadets and the other celebrities from Ward 10, Miss Duncan was carried by members of the Rye Fire Brigade down the Landgate.

Miss Duncan remained calm and composed as she was chaired through the sea of people that waited on the Salts for the big moment. It must be quite a terrifying feeling to be carried on a swaying seat surrounded by blazing torches and flying fireworks.

Pamela Duncan of Emergency Ward Ten
Pamela Duncan of Emergency Ward Ten


At the Fire she was lowered once again to terra firma and Bobby Edwards, the Parade Chief Marshal handed her a torch with which to do the deed.

As the flames from the fire grew brighter and brighter, a sea of red faces was revealed stretching from the burning fire right up to the top of Hilders Cliff.

“Sister Doughty” remained on the Salts as the flames grew higher and higher, talking to several children who had waited all the evening for a glimpse of her, until she was finally dragged away and carried off in the Chair to the comparative safety of the town.

Rye’s Own December 1965

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