Guy Fawkes was born in York on the 13th April 1570 and died thirty six years later on January 31st, 1606.
Each year since his death, his effigy has been burned on bonfires to commemorate the failed plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament and, by doing so, remove the Protestant King, James the First from the throne.
This weekend, millions of families across the country will be attending celebrations which will light up the sky for miles around which has been the case since parliament introduced the Observance of November 5th Act and encouraged the people to celebrate justice by lighting bonfires.
Part of the Act contains a clause written 406 years ago which states ‘this testemonye of joy be carefull done without any danger or disorder’. Even in the sixteen hundreds, safety was a concern and sadly, we haven’t made much progress since then. This whole weekend raises more safety concerns than any other publicly celebrated evening and not a year goes by that isn’t tarnished by the news that something tragic has occurred. Fireworks safety adverts are everywhere at this time of the year but in my opinion only scratch the surface of what are essentially, helpful advice about selling explosives to the general public.
I’m not trying to ruin anybody’s good time, far from it. For me, this weekend will involve a huge bowl of casserole and a spectacular firework display watched from a safe distance but for some who’ll choose to host their own display; it will involve lighting dozens of incendiary devices a few feet away from family and friends. Once again, the Bury St Edmund’s Round Table is hosting a spectacular evening in the Abbey Gardens handled by professionals who put as much emphasis on safety as they do on entertainment. My advice to everyone would be to leave it to them and have a wonderful weekend. After all, if you can purchase Velocity Rockets and something called a 16 Shot Mine Cake from your local Tesco’s in the aisle next to the sandwiches, we really do need to rethink what’s important.