1. ITV Report

Gravesham council postpones popular fireworks display for Benny the whale

Benny the beluga drew in crowds after appearing in Gravesend River Thames on September 26th thousands of miles from its natural arctic habitat.

His residence has prompted Gravesham council to postpone its popular annual firework display until further notice.

The whale is taking residence in the Gravesend River Thames. Credit: PA

The fireworks were originally supposed to be set off from a boat in the Thames on November 2nd, but the Port of London Authority has advised that fireworks in or around the area would cause disturbance to Benny.

Councillor David Turner, Leader of Gravesham Borough Council said,

Following advice from the Port of London Authority, we have decided to postpone the Gravesham Fireworks this year.

While we are very disappointed at having to postpone the fireworks, we understand the need to keep Benny safe must take priority. Every effort will be made to reschedule this hugely popular event, but a decision can not be made now as no one knows how long Benny will remain in residence here.

While we understand this is also disappointing to the thousands of residents and visitors who enjoy our fantastic fireworks display every year, we have to ensure our special visitor is kept safe and well.

We have considered alternative sites, but there is not a big enough area we can use for the 15,000 people that attend our fireworks display. Also, the advice given to us is that we ‘should not re-arrange the fireworks to take place near the river in the Gravesend area’, as this may still disturb Benny.

Keeping Benny safe has to be our priority while he visits us here in Gravesend, thousands of miles from his usual Arctic habitat. I’m sure everyone, while disappointed by this postponement of the fireworks, will understand.

– Councillor David Turner

The fireworks will be rearranged when Benny leaves Gravesend to go to his winter retreat. Gravesham Borough Council council is encouraging its residents to 'enjoy spotting Benny' in the meantime.