It seemed like there was a lot to celebrate on Bonfire Night this year. It had been quite a time, all in all, in the life of the village of Allendale.
I imagine that Peter Aldcroft, as the incoming President of the Lions Club, did the honours by crawling into the tunnel of doom underneath the big pile and torching the diesel-soaked hay bale, before crawling safely out.
It’s a good thing that he did get out intact, because there was still the wrap-up newsletter to compose, documenting the events of the year just gone. That will be the subject of the final entry for this year, to be presented at the end of the month.
Meanwhile, the fire burned, the fireworks lit up the sky (every year since the beginning of the Allendale Lions Club, Fergus Sandison was in charge of ordering in the rockets, and organising ‘the crew on the hill’), and children were still playing with sparklers. Nigel Baynes would have been calling the raffle before the second half of the rocket display, and the fire would be warming cold toes around the field.
I didn’t know then how much effort was involved in preparing the field for the bonfire, though doubtless I helped shift the turves on more than one occasion. Creating the huge pile of wooden detritus for the fire was also a great team-building exercise, especially since the robust positioning of the pallets to form the lighting tunnel was such a crucial component of the team-work.
Another thing that folks don’t much know is that the Lions never expect to make any profit on the night; all the proceeds from the gate takings, raffle and sales of food go to paying the expenses, and the Club always considers itself fortunate if the event breaks even.
It’s just, has always been, a philanthropic public service contribution by a bunch of community-minded folks.