Around forty thousand people have celebrated bonfire night in Lewes. Sussex Police say spectator numbers were down on previous years because of a strike on Southern Rail. But the event still attracted huge crowds with American presidential candidate Donald Trump making not one but three appearances, as Tom Savvides explains.
Crowds have celebrated the traditional bonfire night celebrations in Lewes, in spite of a strike on Southern Rail. This is what some of the spectators had to say.
Around 40,000 people were in Lewes last night for the annual bonfire night celebrations. The procession weaved through the town's streets ahead of the main event.
Edenbridge Bonfire Society has been setting fire to celebrity effigies for over 20 years. This year the small town in Kent lit an 11 metre high effigy of Donald Trump – complete with Hillary Clinton in a headlock.
Jeni Fox, spokesperson for Edenbridge Bonfire Society, commented: “The tradition of exploding celebrity effigies at our charity fundraiser bonfire event has spanned two decades, and was created as light-hearted mockery of a famous person who’s recently done something outrageous. The US presidential candidate was the obvious option for 2016"
“It took just a week for our artists to make the effigy, complete with Trump’s trademark bouffant and a pair of Mexican shorts. It was then stuffed with oil-soaked newspapers and fireworks and set alight, alongside an 11 metre effigy of Guy Fawkes.”
Around 5,000 people packed the town’s Recreation Ground to see the effigies set alight, followed by a spectacular firework display. The event raises money for charity.
Sussex Police said between 30,000 and 40,000 people attended the Lewes Bonfire celebrations.
Crowds were believed to be small for a Saturday. Numbers are usually counted through the train station, however the strike meant there were no trains into Lewes after midday.
Chief Superintendent Neil Honnor said: "This event takes months of preparation, planning and working with our fellow emergency services and partners, as well as the bonfire societies. Our aim is always to provide a safe environment for both participants and spectators.
"Lewes was busy as it always is for bonfire night and I am very grateful to all those who worked hard during the evening to ensure that everyone had a safe and enjoyable evening.”
South East Coast Ambulance Service and St John Ambulance treated around 81 people for injuries, most relatively minor.
By 1.30am police had made a total of two arrests for possession of a knife and affray. A number of people given tickets for throwing fireworks.
Thousands of revellers travelled to Lewes last night for the big bonfire celebrations. The Trump figures were set alight at the end of the fireworks display.
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