Lewes Forum thread

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Rookie Ron

On 8 Nov 2011 at 6:53pm An Eye for an Eye wrote:
While I sympathise with the lady from Seaford BS who suffered a serious eye in jury Saturday, I nearly hit the roof with the stupid cow an BBC SE Today who complained that she was hit in the face. She had a tiny mark two inces from her eye yet acted like it was life threatening!!!!!!!!. For Farks sake DON'T COME HERE.
On 8 Nov 2011 at 7:41pm Guy wrote:
How can ANYONE in their right mind defend this foolishness any more?
On 8 Nov 2011 at 8:58pm Me wrote:
I agree, SPECTATORS should heed the warning, stay away from Lewes
On 8 Nov 2011 at 9:15pm T wrote:
Yup, and not fund the societies either as it is they that set the rookie-throwing example
On 8 Nov 2011 at 9:34pm mr happy wrote:
I was watching Cliffe down in Cliffe High Street and most of their rookie dropping members put their boot over the top of it as it went off. This made the whole thing so much better. I then watched the Grand Procession where I noticed that not one member of any other society did this?? The only idiot I saw was a man dropping rookies from his flat down the Cliffe onto spectators heads!
On 8 Nov 2011 at 10:34pm Clunk wrote:
Ahem.. I was in the united grand and covered almost every rookie I dropped with my boots, several others did too.
On 8 Nov 2011 at 11:14pm mr happy wrote:
I stand corrected then . Cant the marshalls make sure that everyone does it next year? It would have saved a lot of these accidents I am sure.
On 8 Nov 2011 at 11:30pm Paul Newman wrote:
You need are some statistics on Firework injuries which I confess I cannot track down ( except for Northern Ireland for some reason). Then it should be simple enough to come to a rough and ready idea on whether Lewes needs to review safety or not.
My suspicion is that it is not unusually dangerous, its just that there are a lot of fireworks and a lot of people. Anyone got any facts and figures ?
On 8 Nov 2011 at 11:40pm Boo Khaki wrote:
70,000 in the town centre - with torches and "drop downs" - 25 injuries
On 9 Nov 2011 at 12:26am give up wrote:
Everyone always picks on poor old lewes but fails to mention any of the other bonfires. Boo! we want a mention as well. For exampke no one on the news did a piece about that chap one year at i think it was newick or Fletching who jumped a fence and fell in a sess pit and broke his leg. Not the year that chap nearly blew his foot up with a firework that he threw. nor me for that matter when i tripped over the a pile of old torches and broke my arm. I never got anyone coming to interview me about the small dangers of piles of sticks.....
Of course there was another lady who probally has lost the sight in her eye, at another bonfire night but unlike others she has chosen not to make a big fuss about it. mosly because she loves bonfires. But that was also a stray rookie thrown willynilly by funny enough a member of the public. So dont just blame the societys, sometimes its the other people are the problem.
On 9 Nov 2011 at 12:34am Jack Hughes wrote:
When a story like this hits the national media (as it has done), we can be certain that someone in authority will be making a promise to ensure tighter controls will be introduced.

Check it out here »
On 9 Nov 2011 at 1:10am Carnival Colin wrote:
Typical DM, what b0llox, contains the line 'bonfire party'.
On 9 Nov 2011 at 8:55am Lewes Lady wrote:
I personally would ban Rookies from the processions. They add nothing, except the risk of injuries. Be honest....it is teenagers and immature 'men' who like chucking rookies....much be something to do with testosterone/penis size....
On 9 Nov 2011 at 9:57am Ed Can Do wrote:
They add nothing for some members of the visiting public but for a lot of the other visitors and for the majority of society members they make the evening more enjoyable. As has been said more times than is necessary, Bonfire is not put on for the benefit of spectators and if you're a spectator who doesn't like the bangs, then don't come along. There are bonfires every weekend for weeks either side of the fifth in villages where there are no bangs in the procession and the same spectacle of hundreds of people with burning torches followed by a decent fireworks display so go to one of those instead.

Why do so many people insist on trying to change something to further their own enjoyment at the expense of the people it's actually for? There's at least one fatal skydiving accident every year in the UK according to Google, that's one more fatality than Lewes Bonfire gets yet nobody here is calling for a ban on skydiving. There are literally thousands of people killed by motorbikes every year including a good number of people who weren't actually riding teh thing when the accident happened so why not ban motorbikes?

You can't legislate danger away and the fact is, some people enjoy doing dangerous things, even if it's something as actually relatively harmless as letting off bangers in the street. Coming to Lewes on Bonfire Night is a personal choice and one people make knowing full well the risk, it is very well publicised. If anything, the constant attempts by certain people to get anything even remotely risky banned is perhaps the cause of some of the complaints about bangers in Lewes because people just don't realise that when the information says Lewes Bonfire is dangerous, it actually is.

I honestly think the future of Bonfire lies in the complete removal of the crowds. Close off the roads as they were this year and don't stop any trains in Lewes after 2 o'clock on the fifth. That way the only people in town will be locals who know what they're getting themselves into and really diehard fans who've walked for miles to get in. It won't affect the charity collection much because most out of towners seem to think the collection is for the societies so don't put any money in anyway and thinner crowds will make it far easier for the police to single out troublemakers and deal with them appropriately.
On 9 Nov 2011 at 10:17am someone else wrote:
Ed Can Do - Agree with a lot of what you say but it seems to me that there's a problem in principle with banning crowds, as good an idea as it sounds. Bonfire is a fundamentally libertarian event: people exercising a long standing freedom to walk the streets and put themselves at risk if they want. So to then ban people from their freedom to attend and put themselves at risk would be a bit hypocritical.
I wouldn't be unhappy to see everyone who entered the town have to read and sign a form to say that they have understood and accepted the risks.
On 9 Nov 2011 at 10:36am My dad Stan wrote:
It's a shame that big signs on all entries to the town with a disclaimer, IE Enter at your own risk etc. That's a rubbish disclaimer but you get the drift. As far as i'm aware that's a legal minefield though :-(
On 9 Nov 2011 at 10:50am IMEYOU wrote:
Well Said Ed
On 9 Nov 2011 at 11:52am Annabel wrote:
I agree with Ed, it is overly simplistic to say ' if you don't like it stay away' but it should be much more difficult to get into town. No trains & the roads closed unless you can produce id showing you live in town. I am always amazed to overhear people complaining about the noise/bangers as if it was a new thing!
On 9 Nov 2011 at 12:56pm Decent Citizen wrote:
Some good ideas being put forward.I agree Ed Can Do,Annabel. Certainly would be good to lessen the crowds attending.Just a thought,because things do not happen that quickly,but,why not close the pubs to other than locals? This year I noted the early visitors drinking way before evening events! It happened before. The Royal Oak was our watering hole.Little by little ,some of the ideas mentioned, could bring about a bonfire night free of the riff raff element that often blights it! One small example, the idiot, who picked up and threw a lit torch at the effigy at St Michaels church!! I really do feel that it is time to put into action some mass crowd deterrents.I am all for tradition,I defend anyone's right to keep it,but, I hate the extremely loud bangs,(I know, my problem)even more though,the public I have had to put up with for many years at a very late hour,ie long after everyone else has probably settled to sleep. Rant over!
On 9 Nov 2011 at 1:02pm Decent Citizen wrote:
Not sure what the "check it out here"is! Perhaps I pressed something!
On 9 Nov 2011 at 1:36pm Clifford wrote:
Ed Can Do wrote: 'There's at least one fatal skydiving accident every year in the UK according to Google, that's one more fatality than Lewes Bonfire gets yet nobody here is calling for a ban on skydiving.'

I think they might if the skydiving fatality was as a result of a skydiver landing on someone's head. Try to find a better analogy, Ed. And is anyone calling for a ban on bonfire? I thought they were just asking the tossers who throw fireworks at people to grow u a bit.
On 9 Nov 2011 at 1:40pm Lewes Lady wrote:
Are you really trying to tell me that the bonfire societies would march the streets if no-one was watching?? Utter tosh....that would be the end of Bonfire in Lewes.
As I child we used to go every year to watch the main processsion and I don't remember there being more than the odd rookie being let off...it was a rare event then....people have just got silly about it
On 9 Nov 2011 at 1:51pm Decent Citizen wrote:
No, read again Lewes Lady! It would be like it was originally,ie the local population! Not coach loads,train loads of a fair few unwanted (often drunk) visitors! No good saying bonfire could never be stopped,if something bad happened,believe me, the anti would stop it in a heart beat!
On 9 Nov 2011 at 1:56pm Me myself and irene wrote:
"Are you really trying to tell me that the bonfire societies would march the streets if no-one was watching??"
thats exactly what would happen............ BELIEVE IT!!!!!!!!!!And it would have 2 positives as well. No. 1 obviously no crowds = no drunken fools to deal with. No. 2 It would rid the societies of a fair few people from their ranks who simply have no idea about bonfire and see it as an excuse to drink a lot and play with fireworks in a dangerous manor. Thats right I'm talking about the hordes of smugglers who actually contribute precisley nothing except membership fee.
On 9 Nov 2011 at 2:01pm Sarah Clowes wrote:
Anybody know what society Seaford were walking with on Saturday?
On 9 Nov 2011 at 2:17pm HelpfulHanna wrote:
Sarah - I understand Seaford was walking with Southover.
On 9 Nov 2011 at 2:34pm Ed Can Do wrote:
Lewes Lady, the best (And loudest) part of Bonfire Night for many is the last Cliffe procession, which happens long after the crowds have left in front of perhaps a handful of people the whole way round. With no crowds the whole night could be like that and people would perhaps not feel the need to be so noisy during the last walk, thereby placating the people who justifiably don't appreciate the late night bangs.

I also don't knwo how long ago you were a child but when I first started going out about twenty years ago there were a lot more bangs, both in the procession and crowd, plus people let off rockets and all sorts in the street. The whole thing was far more anarchic and dangerous compared to the very saccharine event we had this year.

It's a shame that all the press seems to be glossing over that the woman hit in the face was a marching society member rather than a member of the general public. It makes her injury no less tragic but the press have put something of an innocent bystander slant on things to say the least.
On 9 Nov 2011 at 2:52pm Catherine Wheel wrote:
I get nailed to the bird table and set alight every year...I SAY BAN THE BONFIRE...
On 9 Nov 2011 at 3:30pm BRUSSEL SPROUT wrote:
Lewes bonfire is what it is. Grown adults are perfectly capable of exercising their own discretion as to whether they should attend or not. Personally I quite enjoy the rookies and the element of danger that goes along with Bonfire. Little in life is risk free..... but each person should choose for themselves if they are ok with the level of risk or not. This year I did not attend for one of the first years ever, I am 7 months pregnant and thought it a bad idea (it nearly killed me not to go! but it is for the best I feel). In future I will be there with bells on! actually I would like to join a society but I don't know how one chooses which one is the right one to join? Historical family allegiance goes with South Street and Waterloo but I live in Wallands which it seems is Borough territory.... is that so? How should I decide?
On 9 Nov 2011 at 4:03pm Southover Queen wrote:
It's true that there's a real tension between the underlying bonfire tradition in Lewes and the tourist spectacle. The tradition is about protest and commemoration and has an undercurrent of anger and non-conformity running right through it, while to your average drunken student it's just a spectacle where you get completely off your face.

I witnessed the police being very active in seeking out people throwing fireworks and rookies from the crowd, and there were quite a few at the top of town. It's just a personal thing, but I really hate very loud bangs so I make sure I have a good supply of ear plugs. However this year I did find the noise quite oppressive (Yes, that's the point, I hear the Bonfire Boys say) and I did witness a couple of near accidents, one of which might well have blinded a little boy and did result on a nasty graze from a rookie on his head. You'll say that you shouldn't bring children, but who's going to tell his parents that it really really is dangerous for kids? They were overseas tourists who had obviously been told that Bonfire in Lewes was a great spectacle. They don't know that the normal rules go out of the window for bonfire and it's not just H&S hype.

I don't know what you do about that, honestly. I love the anarchy of it all, and that's important. But I'm not sure it's worth a child's sight, and I wonder how on earth you balance that.

Along with a few others, I got a lot of stick for suggesting that this year would be overcrowded with maybe 60k in attendance. One person decided I was being hostile to visitors when we questioned his advice to someone looking for advice about parking. So who was right, eh?
On 9 Nov 2011 at 4:38pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
Loads of sense on this thread!
I first came and watched bonfire in 1977 and came most years through out the 80s. How different it was then. Very few police, crowds small by current standards, huge amounts of noise and no safety barriers worth speaking of. It was awesome. It was one of the things that made me want to come and live here.
I heard two stories that made me laugh/despair. A friend had to remonstrate with a member of the public who threw a rookie under the tab cart. Imagine the damage that could have done? Another friend who was marshalling had trouble getting some woman out of the road. She insisted she had to stay in the road because she had a baby. What kind of eejit brings a babe in arms out on a very busy 5th? Although I concede that toddlers and pushchairs are even worse.
Last year, some buffoon felt he had every right to push his way through one of the remembrance ceremonies because his child needed to go to the toilet. How disrespectful.
Re the last Cliffe procession, if you look at Roz South's photos on Zenfolio, there appears to be a CSBS member who enjoys that procession so much he felt obliged to join in.
On 9 Nov 2011 at 5:49pm Visitor wrote:
Good evening.
It was me who questioned the accuracy of Southover Queen's claim of "5x16k" (ie 80k) visitors as being wildly over the top. So if it was 60k on Saturday - and friends in three of the Societies doubt this figure - then I stand by my opinion. After all, 25% is not even close.
So in answer to her question above, I was right. If, however you think that 25% is an insignificant over-estimation, then she was correct, obviously. Take your choice.
Hope most of you had fun; here's to 2012 coming round quickly...
On 9 Nov 2011 at 5:52pm Visitor wrote:
On second thoughts, perhaps she made a 33% over-estimation. I rest my case!!
On 9 Nov 2011 at 6:41pm cyclist wrote:
It seems to me that the danger of serious injury cause by rrookies is damage to eyes and my sympathies go out to the lady from Seaford and I hope that she makes a full recovery. That said I love the bangs and it is one of the features that makes Lewes Bonfire special as opposed to the outmeetings. The point of risk is to manage it. So how about encouraging people (not forcing) to wear safety spectacles - If they choose not to as adults then that is their choice. I know this might detract from the spectacle (sorry about the pun) and the costumes. For me that would be an acceptable compromise - keep the bangs. Other injuries from rookies appear to be fairly minor and will soon heal. Someone could make a fortune selling them to the public on the night.
On 9 Nov 2011 at 9:48pm Southover Queen wrote:
Visitor, your point is what exactly? That I can't count (I plead guilty) or that I said that Lewes would be hideously overcrowded? (It was and the crowds spoilt the experience for many).

I hope the person you were encouraging to try to park didn't come this year and will come on another quieter night because of what was said because that is good advice. Yours was, frankly, rubbish.
On 9 Nov 2011 at 11:25pm Visitor wrote:
I think we all know your sort, SQ. You know the point I was making full well - clarifying that you were having a pop at my previous posts despite you being wrong. Just accept that you were way out when scare-mongering about crowds of 80k, and stop having a go at people like me just because I don't live in your town.
I take far more notice of good friends who belong to the Societies and support Bonfire from the inside, who have all said that everything ran almost exactly to time, with little in the way of procession shortening due to excess crowds, and that despite some media headlines it was a successful and safe evening for the vast majority.
You and others ought to welcome people who drive to the 5th as they can't drink to excess, and make efforts to greatly limit train visitors as others in this thread have reasonably suggested. Restricted parking availability is an effective way of limiting numbers, and keeping visitors to the genuinely committed who don't mind walking the last couple of miles, rather than just stumbling a couple of hundred yards from the station.
On 10 Nov 2011 at 1:28am part-timer wrote:
The risks are not exactly hidden, they are and have been the same every year for many many years. They are made clear by the Bonfire Council and the Societies. Society members know that if they don't want to be near bangs then go in a section of the procession where there not bangs, if you like bangs then go to the back where there are bangs. I have friends in bonfire who did where safety goggles due to problems in the past, however made sure that the costume that they wore was not spoilt by such items......The big word here is responsibility. People letting off fireworks should be responsible, so should everyone else. The same way it is up to drivers and pedestrians to prevent road accidents. Every year I give out cotton wool to various idiots who have not taken responsibility for their own or their children's ears.
On 10 Nov 2011 at 4:26pm bastian wrote:
in the Anne of Cleeves museum is a pair of spark goggles that bonfire boys used to where on the night,they look like two tea strainers joined together,guess why we don't wear them now? in my society you are not allows anything that restricts your vision.I don't wear ear plugs because they stop you hearing warnings from people around you..this year youngsters started shouting "fire in the hole" when they dropped a rookie..which at laest alerted you to it at your feet.
I do have a complaint about one member of my society who for now I will call "the purple chode" who chucked a rookie up onto the raised path next to me on head height,for which I would truely like revenge.
On 10 Nov 2011 at 4:54pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
On the Argus website, it said that 2 people suffered serious head injuries..... from falls.
Maybe we should make everyone sit down in one spot to make it safer.
On 10 Nov 2011 at 11:34pm Southover Queen wrote:
I was up at the top of town, above the bottleneck, where the crowd reached all the way round the bend of Rotten Row. There were people sitting on the wall of the house on the corner of the High St and Rotten Row, and people climbing the lamppost as well - the wall there must be at least 12' high, and the lamppost considerably higher. If they had fallen they'd have injured themselves and anyone underneath them.

I heard from friends further down that below the bottleneck was fine, because the police stopped more people gathering once they judged it was full to safe capacity. I'd guess that's why so many ended up climbing the walls at the top end of town, so that they could get some kind of view. Most of the people in Rotten Row won't have seen a thing all evening, so that was a total waste.

Just by way of reply to visitor: I don't remember saying that there would be five times the population; I think I said four. It doesn't matter in any case: there were far too many people. I'm glad your friends in the processions had fun, but they wouldn't really have known what it was like for the spectators, would they? My point was that no-one should be encouraging yet more people to come when the chances were that town would be overcrowded, which you chose to interpret as being hostile to guests. It wasn't: it was hostile to bad advice.
On 15 Nov 2011 at 1:31pm waterloo girly xx wrote:
i agree and now this has happend no one will eva go to seaford coz there b hated too much lol yay gd for fletching we will get a lot more people comeing to ours now x

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