December 5, 2018

September 25, 2019

Chiddingfold Bonfire Saturday3rd November
Update from the Chiddingfold Bonfire team
Next Bofire is Saturday 6th November 2021

Dear Fellow Villagers,

Our team would firstly like to extend our best wishes to everyone in the village and to say that we hope as many of you as possible have been able to see some semblance of normal life gradually returning as we slowly emerge from lockdown.
When Covid19 arrived to affect all our day to day lives the Bonfire Committee and our ‘Helping Hands’ team of volunteers were keen to help around the village in any way could, alongside the many other village groups and helpers who have sought to assist those in need during these extraordinary past few months.
We have been proud to play a small part in this wonderful collective effort, firstly by organizing the distribution each Wednesday during the first few months of lockdown of the food orders being delivered into the village by Farncombe Fresh Foods.
We have also been pleased to support Monica and Amit at Roberts Stores by making deliveries every Saturday during lockdown to any of their customers having to shield at home or who simply couldn’t get to the shop to themselves. As lockdown gradually eased we realized that some of the recipients of these deliveries were still needing to stay at home and so our team did a Zoom get together and unanimously agreed that we will continue to make these deliveries for as long as people need us to do so.
As we reach September the thoughts of the Bonfire team would normally be turning to getting preparations for Bonfire Night underway. Indeed some of our plans for 2020 started months ago because the records in our Bonfire archive indicated that, to the best of our knowledge, November 2020 would be the 180th year of the Chiddingfold Bonfire so we were keen to make sure we could put on the best possible village event for everyone to enjoy!
Once the true impact of the pandemic became clear we realized we would need to take all possible precautions about the staging of this year’s event but remained hopeful it would be able to go ahead. In late July our hopes were raised as the Government indicated some initial public outdoor test events would be staged with a view to this leading to more such events, including ones such as our annual November celebration, being able to take place.
However, those test events were pushed back and so we felt we needed to make an early decision about the 2020 Bonfire, with the health and well-being of our village and our wonderful community central to our thoughts. As we moved in to August it became clear to us that to stage our event this year would represent a risk of bringing the virus in to the village, especially in light of it being popular each year with visitors from outside of Chiddingfold. So, it was with a heavy heart that we decided that it would not be right for us to stage the event this year. We are sorry for the disappointment this will bring to all those, young and old, who enjoy it each November and who show their support by way of the money spent on the night and donated through our collecting buckets. As many of you will know, the money collected in those buckets is turned in to vouchers that we then deliver to all village residents over the age of 70 which they can then spend in the various shops and businesses in the village. Last year we were delighted to be able to make each voucher worth £45 and we know many recipients look forward to receiving and spending them in the run up to Christmas, and we in turn are pleased that the spending of those vouchers benefits our local business owners. We have decided, therefore, that even though our next Bonfire night celebration will now be in November 2021 we will still distribute a voucher to all our usual recipients this year. The amount will be lower than last year, but we felt it was important to keep up this long-held tradition and to still make a distribution to everyone. If we can, we will also help those other Organisation’s around the village to whom we also make donations each year from any surplus that is made after the vouchers and our running costs have been covered. If our reserves don’t enable us to make a cash donation our support for them this year may, however, be by way of offering our services if they have any projects they think our team can help with. This then leads us on to the final point we wanted to mention, and that is how our team plan to use the time that would normally be spent each Saturday building the bonfire. We all really enjoy those Saturday mornings, including when the weather is being unkind, as they are usually filled with a lot of laughter and great camaraderie (helped each week by generous mid-morning servings of bacon sandwiches from the team at The Crown followed by a rehydrating beverage or two at lunchtime!). So in the absence of a bonfire to build we still plan to make each week between early October and the start of November a ‘Bonfire Helping Hands Saturday’ where we will willingly carry out any useful jobs or projects that may need doing around the village (followed of course by that refreshing beverage at lunchtime). If anyone has any thoughts or ideas about projects we can help with please let us know via the Bonfire website or Facebook page. We would also love to welcome any new volunteers who may be interested in joining us – anyone is welcome and, again, just get in touch via the website or Facebook or by speaking with any of our current team that you may know. In closing we would like to thank all of you in our wonderful village who have supported the Chiddingfold Bonfire over so many years, and to assure you that our Bonfire and Fireworks will be back for everyone to enjoy in 2021. Please continue to stay safe and look out for each other.
Best wishes.
Simon Manuel
Chairman, Chiddingfold Bonfire

E-mail from Chiddingfold Bonfire Committee dated Friday 25 August 2020