Fakenham’s fireworks display is cancelled

Fakenham fireworks display last year.

Fakenham fireworks display last year. - Credit: Emma Licence

Fakenham's fireworks extravaganza will not go ahead this year, organisers have confirmed.

The annual fireworks display, which has run for more than 20 years and attracts up to 2,000 people, has in recent years been organised by the Fakenham and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce.

But due to a lack of active members willing to be involved in committee work, the chamber is now dormant and unable to organise the fireworks display.

Attempts have been made to find a new organisation to take on the bonfire night spectacular, which had been scheduled for November 8, but organisers have said these have proved 'fruitless'.

Civic officials and community stalwarts have expressed their shock and disappointment that the annual display, held at Fakenham Racecourse, will not be held this year.

John Lingwood, vice chairman of Fakenham and District Chamber of Trade and organiser of the firework display, said it was with sadness that they have had to cancel this year's event, but it was 'inevitable' given that attempts to find a fresh organisation to take on the spectacle had so far failed.

Treasurer of the Chamber of Trade, Philip Moy, added that insurance costs, together with falling attendance numbers had reduced the net income from the event in recent years but nevertheless the fireworks had continued to raise funds for a variety of local charities.

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Money raised from the event was put towards a variety of good causes, including the town's Christmas lights.

David Hunter, chief executive and clerk at Fakenham Racecourse, which provides the site for the fireworks display free of charge, said: 'I'm sure it's a decision the committee members have made with a heavy heart and if in due course the event is resurrected, we would be only too happy to host it again. It's a sad loss when any event that's historically put on to raise funds can no longer go ahead but if it becomes a burden and more of a money loser than generator, it makes it difficult to continue.'

Janet Holdom, town councillor and coordinator of the Fakenham Area Partnership, said: 'It's disappointing because it's the biggest fireworks event in the area. It's a shame it's fallen apart and it's not for a want of trying to build connections and partnerships between community groups. Hopefully it will be addressed early enough to get the show back on the road for next year. I am sure there are community groups that would be interested in working towards that common goal.'

Town mayor Jeremy Punchard said: 'It's disappointing, it's a big event for the town, reasonably priced and an event which lots of families would go to. As usual with that kind of event, it is run by volunteers and if people aren't prepared to get involved and help then things won't happen.

'With people being encouraged to go to more organised displays due to health and safety reasons, many will have to travel further afield.'

Adrian Vertigan, chairman of Kick Start Fakenham, said the group used to support the event by providing team members. He said: 'It will be a loss to the town. It's a great event for the town and it's sad that it's not going ahead this year.'

Any groups interested in resurrecting the event in the future should call Mr Lingwood on 01328 851251.