What’s special about Borough? Most of the societies have different traditions. We don’t burn the Pope, for example, and we don’t have burning barrel races. We do have our unique pioneers. And we have our Death March, in which we march with unlit torches to the War Memorial to remember the war dead. But these are just traditions; at heart all the societies are pretty much the same.
Has Bonfire Night got better or worse over time? Things have to change and we’ve had to compromise. Health and Safety is an issue at the moment. We have to find a lot of money to pay for insurance, which was never the case before. It’s not just that, everything costs more, so it becomes more and more difficult to raise the money. It costs 6-7 thousand pounds just to put on our fireworks display. So we’ve had to charge people for coming to the fire site. It’s not something we wanted to do, but it became an essential thing to alleviate the financial strain.
Is the festival anti-Catholic? No it isn’t. And our society is open to anyone who wants to join regardless of race, colour or creed. A lot of causes have tried to muscle in on Bonfire Night, and stir things up, but we’ve always sent them packing.
Do you welcome outsiders coming in? The crowds have always come to Bonfire Night. Outsiders don’t necessarily come two years running. They’ll come every now and again, just like we won’t go to Kew Gardens every year. It’s always been like that. We don’t think it’s changed that much.
What will you be doing on Sunday 5th? We’ll be getting up at 6am to help clear up. It’ll be the beginning of the next year’s activities. It’ll be the third early morning in a row, after the third late night. It’s a tiring business, Bonfire Night.