Thursday, 19 February 2009
Call for return of town's fireworks Published Date: 13 February 2009 By Lindsey Newton Fireworks could once again light up the skies over Thetford as a town councillor heads up a campaign to bring the once annual event back to the town. Cllr Terry Jermy, who is one of Thetford's youngest councillors, is calling on the town council to hold a bonfire event to give something back to the town's residents – and he wants local people to register their interest online. Cllr Jermy said: "Many years ago, there was an organised event in this town which was very popular. However, this finished and, for a long while, Thetford has been without a bonfire and fireworks display. "A town-run event would mean residents wouldn't be disturbed for weeks on end, it would be safer than home firework displays and it would bring the town together." Cllr Jermy has set up a group on Facebook, the social networking website, entitled The Bonfire and Firework Event in Thetford 2009 and has more than 250 members, many of whom have posted messages of support. Alison Arnold said 'Great idea Terry! I used to love the huge bonfire that was built on Melford Common when I was a kid' and Kaye Bloomfield said 'I think it's about time Thetford did this again, the last one I can remember in Thetford was at the high school and that was some years ago'. Liz Staight wrote: "I think we should definitely have one in Thetford again, we always have to travel to the surrounding villages for fireworks and if somewhere as small as Barnham can put on an excellent display, then why cant we? "It's good to know that someone is trying to cut through the red tape and give something back to the people of Thetford." The event is also supported by Thetford police and fire service. The idea was first addressed by Cllr Jermy at November's town council meeting, where some councillors objected on the grounds of cost, disturbance to local residents and lack of demand. Cllr Derek Mortimer said: "My personal view is that it would be money going up in smoke. "The event would cost a lot of money, then there's insurance, health and safety assessments, crowd control and a suitable location would need to be found. "I haven't heard a great deal in favour of it and I think there are much worthier causes which could benefit from that sort of money." If you would like to register your support for the event, become a member of the group at www.facebook.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, 9 February 2009
In November 2008, I requested an agenda item for the Full Town Council meeting at the end of that month. For weeks leading up to Bonfire Night in November, many local residents asked me why there was no organised display in Thetford and to be honest, there was no answer that could be given. I therefore proposed at the November meeting that Thetford Town Council should take the lead on organising such an event in 2009. The reason being that other towns and small villages organise their own displays for their residents so why could Thetford not have a display? Also, much work has taken place over many years primarily by the Fire and Police Services locally tackling illegal and dangerous bonfires and fireworks. Without an organised event, it is difficult for these organisations to address this issue. Many members of the Town Council supported the concept of having a display but were sceptical of the practicalities, cost, noise, location etc. The Town Manager - Susan Glossop, was asked to produce a report looking at the options available which she did, and this was presented to full council at the end of January. The report indicated a lot of support from agencies and residents groups around the town and Serjeant Steve Burke from Thetford Police was at the meeting to confirm their support. Some councillors still had issues with the project and were reluctant to 'underwrite' the cost and wanted other groups/organisations locally to financially commit to the project. The Town Council have no money available this year as it is heavily supporting the Thomas Paine events. The council agreed to defer making a decision on the idea until more information was gathered. In the meantime, to address the question posed by some councillors that there may not be support for this idea amongst people in the town, I decided to set-up a group on Facebook to see how many people from Thetford would join to show their support. Amazingly, over 350 have joined in just 48 hours!!! I am not sure what my fellow Town Councillors will make of this but I am greatly encouraged by this and firmly believe that involving the people of this town is vitally important for all organisations and all community projects. The next few weeks will be interesting!