The Lewes bonfire one of the largest in the UK

The Lewes bonfire is one of the largest fires in the UK and some people would argue in the world. This year organisers prepared for around 60,000 people to visit the events which take to the streets to celebrate bonfire night. The actual event is made up of six different bonfires were numerous effigies are burned.

There are also several hours of fireworks set off and many processions take place. The event is held to mark the prevention of the Gunpowder Plot as well as a mark of remembrance to Protestant martyrs who were burned in Lewes in the mid-16th century.

Many different societies organised events in the town and several people came dressed in costumes and stayed up until the early hours of the morning. The event has been taking place for 200 years and many people now joke that it has become less exciting because of the council having to be careful of various health and safety regulations. However, the evening still maintains a riotous feel.

Adam Sobot is a member of Cliffe Bonfire Society and he commented about the event, “This event is about expressing freedom and showing that we cannot be told what to do, our Bonfire Society has over 1000 members most of whom will be present at this event. It is the work of bonfire societies like ours that mean this event is possible every year and we are afforded greater freedoms in our organisation of events.”

There is a definite sense of competition between the societies although it is all good-natured. The societies are responsible for constructing effigies of Guy Fawkes as well as Pope Paul V. Each year there are also effigies created which are based on recent news, one of the most famous examples was the burning of Osama bin Laden 10 years ago.

Last year an effigy of David Cameron was also burned, this year it is expected that Colonel Gaddafi will be set alight. Who is being burned is kept a closely guarded secret until the evening itself. Other bonfire societies burn other effigies and Waterloo is a family orientated one and they are burning an effigy of Rebecca Brooks and Rupert Murdoch.