Annual Ely Firework event could be run under community groups who want to bring it back to ‘the event it used to be’
PUBLISHED: 16:48 28 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:48 28 March 2018
Community groups are hoping to win back the right to run a massive firework display in Ely after a private firm ran it last year.
The annual fireworks and bonfire night has been held on Cherry Hill Park and Dean’s Meadow behind the cathedral for 30 years.
Local scouts have now teamed up with three local Rotary clubs to win back control of the fireworks display with the aim of ensuring a massive cash boost to local charities.
A spokesman for Ely District Scouts said: “In 2017 the firework display was run by private commercial companies.
“There was a good public turnout estimated as being up to 7,000 people. £1,300 was donated to four local charities.
“This year it is proposed to return Ely Fireworks to the communiyt event that it used to be.”
East Cambridgeshire District Council will decide in the next few weeks whether to allow the newly formed community ‘consortium’ to stage it or whether to allow last year’s organisers, Ely Fireworks Ltd, to stage it again.
Last year’s event – with admission set at £12 for family tickets and £4 for adults – and the scouts’ spokesman said it is hoiped “that from 2018 the total surplus from the event will again benefit local charities”.
Ely Fireworks Ltd took on the event last year after it had previously been run by former Round Tablers (Ely XT) with Ely scouts running a barbecue and hog roast.
Dr John Wells, chairman of Ely and District Scouts, said: “The people of Ely and surrounding villages have always been very supportive of the hundreds of youth members, their leaders and families involved in local scouting. By joining with the Rotary Clubs we welcome the opportunity to help make Ely Fireworks a real charity effort raising funds for other worthy causes in our community.”
Rotarian Richard Tyler added: “The main reason we are doing it is for the people and then to make money and have all of that go to local charities.
“There are four organisations coming together who want to arrange it and take it back to what it was.
“It will be very similar to before with a bonfire and Guy Fawkes and lots of stalls.”
Richard Stewart, director of Ely Fireworks Ltd, said last year’s event went without complaint and was ‘the best year ever’.
He said: “I started Ely Fireworks last year and it was just me on my own.
“I offered the Rotary Club to come along and gave them money as a thank you and now they have spoken to me this year and said that they want it.
“Last year I did not have a single complaint and it had a lot of potential – it went above and beyond. It was the best year ever.
“We have already had our meeting and we now await the council’s decision.
“The idea last year was to make it a success and give money away. I put £20,000 in and the idea was for me to fund it and I gave away a little bit. I am not getting anything out of this.
“We put a lot of effort in and money and hard work and want to make it bigger and better and now we have this issue.
“I am just one person who wanted to raise money for charity.”
John Wilson, pyrotechnician, added: “Richard was the only one who stepped up to take on the event. The Ltd company was set up because the safety committee required that.
“It was said prior to the event that it was funded by one private individual.”
The event was run by Ely XT until 2016 when a volunteer was hospitalised after a firework exploded in his face.