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Wednesday, 16 October 2013

No Bonfire.

The Hebden Bridge Bonfire was one of the North of England's premier bonfire events over the past few decades. People came from miles to take part.

The HebWeb keeps getting asked about the dates for this year's bonfire.

No bonfire is planned for this year.

Hebden Bridge Bonfire

Photo: HebWeb 2008

This year the Round Table are not going to be organising the event. To date, there is nothing on their website about this year. However, on the Rotary Club website, there is a statement:

"For over 50 years Hebden Bridge & District Round Table organised the annual Hebden Bridge Bonfire & fireworks Display. For many years the Rotary club have given their support to the event by staffing the gates and offering administrative help. The last one was on Saturday 3rd November 2012, on Calder Holmes Park.

"In May 2013, after much deliberation and consultation with the local authorities and the police, Hebden Bridge Round Table decided not to continue organising the event.

"Over the last few years the bonfire has attracted a growing number of youths, many from outside the event's traditional catchment area. Their behavior, and increasing problems relating to drug and alcohol abuse, caused the organisers to reassess their liabilities and responsibilities in relation to public health and safety. After a number of serious incidents at the 2012 bonfire the organisers decided these problems were getting out of control so regretfully they decided to cancel the 2013 bonfire."

Hebden Bridge Bonfire

Photo: HebWeb 2008

The HebWeb has covered the annual bonfire since we began in 1995, but over the past few years correspondents to the HebWeb Forum have compalined about the commercialisation, the size and the fighting.

From David Nendick, writing in 2006: "My 5 year old had been looking forward to it for weeks. What I didn't expect to witness was youths pummelling each other at 7.30pm in front of the fairground rides. One was left in a very bad state, especially after additional part of a gang joined in - one even stamped on his face. Of course the cowardly feral scum just disappeared into the throng."

From Andrew Hall, also in 2006: "The bonfire was once a fun event, for locals and a few visitors. But then it became 'Americanised' and by that I mean in each successive year it had to become bigger and 'better' than in previous years. Such a strategy works for a while, but eventually . . . .it becomes an uncontrolled monster."

From Paul D in 2011: "It's been clear for some years that the bonfire is turning into a street drinking festival. The purpose of the event itself is being lost in a sea of alcohol, and this is not only inconvenient to local residents but gives the town a reputation it can do without."

The Round Table statement ends with a positive thought: "Hopefully, in the future, a scheme can be devised to return the bonfire to its original concept of a family friendly, community event where local people can come and enjoy a good night out in a safe environment."

Previous coverage of the Hebden Bridge Bonfire on the HebWeb