BURGESS HILL BONFIRE CELEBRATIONS
Our FREE event is funded and organised by the efforts of the volunteers of Burgess Hill Bonfire Society.
PLEASE support the costs of this event by buying a programme, merchandising or by means of a donation.
All collection money from the night goes to local charities so please give generously.
Records show that the first Burgess Hill Bonfire Society was formed in1894. The first celebrations being attended by 170 members and the Bonfire was near the “Constitutional Club”.
The first time events were reported was in 1897. At that time the HQ was the Burgess Hill Inn (recently regaining its original name after being the Top House for many years). Also around that time The Hardware Society was formed with it’s HQ at the Royal George Inn. The Societies both held Celebrations and Annual Dinners but eventually combined and were disbanded with the coming of WW1.
It was in 1969 that the Society was reformed by the efforts of Laurie Parker, a member of Lewes Borough Bonfire Society, and other similar minded people. Since that time there has been Annual Celebrations and (sometimes) Annual Dinners.
At first the Society had no distinct costume but in the early 70s The Cadburys’ Aztec chocolate bar provided the inspiration for the Aztecs which now form the Society’s Pioneer Costume. Later on, to match with other Sussex Bonfire Societies, the Society adopted a Smugglers costume with it’s hooped guernseys being green and black. These being the colours of the town football club. Then a further innovation came into being as Society Wenches took to the streets.
Burgess Hill Bonfire Society is a member of the Association of Sussex Bonfire and Carnival Societies and the Sussex Bonfire Council. Over the years Society efforts have earned them the Fred Hill Trophy for best Dressed Society in Sussex on more than one occasion and they are justly proud of their annual street collection, taken during the Celebrations on the last Saturday of September.
As a recognised part of the Town the Society is also high profile during times other than the September Celebrations .In the past few years they have been essential in getting the Town Beacon lit on Royal occasions, and the Society is pleased to take part in Town days and often supply Marshalls for Town Celebrations.
Although celebrations are in September and not on the 5th of November, Burgess Hill Bonfire Society is very proud to continue saying:
“ I see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot”
Written by Doug Stewart – Life Member – 2016