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Sussex film to protect hedgehogs on bonfire night

A film director from Sussex has created a documentary highlighting the plight of hedgehogs. It's estimated that many of the animals die having tried to nest in wood piles at this time of year. The public are being asked to check before lighting their bonfires - if it is safe to do so.

Hedgehog documentary Credit: Tom Sands

“I’ve loved bonfire night since I was a kid and Lewes builds some of the biggest bonfires in the country. For us this is a great fun time of year but it can be a very dangerous time for hedgehogs and other wildlife, with dozens accidentally being killed each year.

“I wanted to find a way to raise awareness of this and encourage people to check their bonfires for wildlife before lighting them”

– Tom Sands, Producer and Director, Substantial Films


Lewes Bonfire night: 'racist' costumes to be altered

  • Watch John Ryall's full report below
Participants parade through the town of Lewes during the annual event Credit: Victoria Jones/PA

One of the societies taking part in this year's Lewes Bonfire night has agreed to alter its costumes after being accused of racism.

A social media campaign was launched to try to stop members of the Lewes Borough Bonfire Society from dressing up as Zulus and painting their faces black, as they have in previous events.

The group have continued to keep in touch with a Zulu ethnic group and have reviewed their approach, telling ITV Meridian they want to honour the Zulu warriors and be even more authentic.

They'll be using less black paint on their faces and fewer adornments on their costumes.

Organiser Mick Symes said "We'll be walking into the parade with our heads held high."

John spoke to Ch Supt Neil Honnor, Sussex Police, Nigel Cusack, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service and Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP, Brighton Kemptown, Lab.

Edenbridge celebrity effigy revealed

Every year in Edenbridge, the town's bonfire society spends days constructing and burning an effigy of a figure who has spent some time in headlines.

Previous 'victims' include Cherie Blair, Jonathan Ross and Lance Armstrong.

This year UKIP leader Nigel Farage turned down an invitation to attend the burning, triggering speculation that he was the target. But no. Emma Wilkinson reveals all:


Edenbridge bonfire effigy to be unveiled

Last year controversial figure, Kate Hopkins, was made into an effigy

The Edenbridge Bonfire Society will unveil which unpopular celebrity, politician or sports personality will be made in to an effigy and burned at their annual bonfire event, later.

Previous 'victims' have included Apprentice contestant, Katie Hopkins; shamed cyclist Lance Armstrong and model Katie Price.

Wildlife bonfire safety plea

East Sussex Wildlife Rescue treating this baby hedgehog Credit: East Sussex Wildlife Rescue

East Sussex Wildlife Rescue is asking people thinking of having an autumn bonfire to take care not to cause injury to local wildlife.

It is unclear how may hedgehogs and other wildlife die in bonfires each year, mainly because they rarely get found afterwards. Numerous families have unfortunately had their bonfire celebrations ruined after finding escaping hedgehogs and other wildlife crawling out from bonfires burnt or injured.

East Sussex WRAS has published these Top Ten Bonfire Safety Tips to help keep not just our declining hedgehog population safe but also other wildlife like bats and birds.

WRAS’s Top Ten Bonfire Safety Tips:

  • 1) Re-site the entire bonfire pile before being lit where possible
  • 2) Use broom handles to lift the bonfire up to check for wildlife sleeping inside before lighting the fire. Use torches to check underneath and listen carefully for any signs of life.
  • 3) With larger bonfires, erect a mesh fence with an overhang round the bonfire to avoid small wild mammals getting inside
  • 4) Light the bonfire at one side rather than all round so that any animals or bird inside have a chance to escape
  • 5) Move bird feeders and other food left out on the ground for wildlife away from the bonfire site for at least a week before building a bonfire
  • 6) Light bonfires away from over hanging trees and bushes
  • 7) Use fireworks away from trees and woodland
  • 8) Place a hedgehog house or simple small hutch with clean and fresh straw, hay and hand shredded paper to provide an alternative home for any animals which might be visiting your garden
  • 9) Have a bucket of water available in care you need to put out the fire or an animal on fire
  • 10) Know who to call if you find an injured wildlife casualty.

Fewer people hurt at Lewes Bonfire Night

There were fewer injuries at this year's Lewes Bonfire Night Credit: ITV Meridian

Fewer people were hurt at this year's Bonfire Night in Lewes. This year ambulance staff treated 82 people compared to 170 last year. But seven of those hurt did need hospital treatment. Fifteen people were arrested this year - the same as last year - but police said the parade was largely peaceful.

Only 30,000 people attended last night - around half of last year's turnout. Superintendent Laurence Taylor said: "At public events of this size there are always going to be incidents. Fortunately we saw a significant drop in the number of firework-related injuries compared with last year."

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