Council’s free fireworks display applauded but charity donations disappoint

Photo of a noticeboard with a firework exploding in the background.
Bradley Stoke Fireworks Display (archive image from 2013).

This year’s Bradley Stoke Town Council fireworks display received predominantly positive feedback from those who attended the free event. However, the amount raised for the mayor’s charities through a ‘bucket collection’ once again fell well short of the amounts raised in many previous years.

The potentially strong winds forecast on the day (Sunday 6th November 2022) failed to materialise, but despite this the number of people attending the event was judged to be once again less than that seen in pre-Covid years.

The return to a ‘traditional format’ of display, i.e. with loud bangs, following last year’s trial of ‘low-noise’ fireworks, was seen as a positive move by a clear majority of those leaving feedback on social media.

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Kitchen & Laundry Appliance Care, Bradley Stoke, Bristol.

In a statement, the council expressed thanks for the “outstanding support” it had received from volunteer marshals and bucket collectors, kindly provided from a range of local groups including Little Stoke Social Club, volunteers from the mayor’s two nominated charity groups (Great Western Air Ambulance Charity and St Peter’s Hospice), Bradley Stoke in Bloom, Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group, the young people of Bradley Stoke, and Bradley Stoke Town Council members and staff.

Once again, Bradley Stoke Radio supported the event, keeping the crowds on the Jubilee Green entertained.

A total of £2,834 was raised for the mayor’s charities through donations – with £2,324 of this sum coming from bucket collections, £480 donated by on-site traders (food & drink vans) and £30 via post-event bank transfers from members of the public.

As usual, Bradley Stoke Rotary Club ran the barbecue at the event, raising funds that it will use to support “local good causes”.

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Cashless society?

It is thought that one reason for the decline in the bucket collection take is that people are carrying less cash with them these days due to the increased use of card and electronic payment methods. Consequently, council officers say they will be looking into the possibility of introducing some form of contactless system for future events, for example where payment can be made by scanning a QR code using a smartphone app.

The cost to the town council of staging this year’s event came in at £8,240, an increase from the £7,798 spent in 2021 due to £400 being spent on “extra marshals from an external events company”.

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Next year’s event

Following discussion at the Full Council meeting on 16th November, councillors decided that the 2023 Fireworks Display will take place on Sunday 5th November with an overall budget for the event set at £9,500.

Additionally, following suggestions from the public, councillors asked officers to investigate whether next year’s display could be set to music.

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Feedback on social media

A small sample of the comments made on a post on the Bradley Stoke Journal’s Facebook page:

HFJ: It was great! I mean music would be a great addition but it’s a free event so I appreciate there are limits on what can be achieved.

AG: Far better than the silent fireworks last year. An excellent display.

DC: Fantastic fireworks show tonight. Sorry but silent fireworks is a big disappointment.

JA: It was a VAST improvement over the silent fireworks fiasco of last year. I agree, could throw some music out there, but otherwise, I absolutely loved it, and my 3-year-old was stood there admiring every colour-filled pop and bang.

PC: Much better than last year’s. Same again next year please.

SN: Great fireworks. Not very generous audience (a few exceptions). My bucket was really light and others said the same. Smaller crowd as well probably due the weather and memory of last year’s damp squib. Still it was free and money wasn’t short, the vans and traders were busy. So the audience were not generous.

PR: Far too loud. Our dog has only just stopped shaking 2 hours later.

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