A week where we remember | Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham
This weekend will see bonfires lit all across our borough, from the big event at Towneley Park on Friday, to smaller events such as the one taking place in Hapton or at the Lowerhouse Cricket Club on Saturday.
It’s a time when, even given the weather at this time of year, families will be coming together, wrapped up warm, to celebrate the failed gunpowder plot which took place 416 years ago.
Bonfire night must look so peculiar to those living outside of the UK but this uniquely British tradition is something which binds us together. And this year it will be even more important as we can finally celebrate as usual.
For my part I have been given the privilege of lighting the bonfire in Hapton on Saturday night. And like many of you I will be enjoying a toffee apple and the firework display.
But whilst the majority of us enjoy the annual celebration in a safe and responsible way I have been contacted by a number of residents about the illegal and irresponsible use of fireworks by some who seem to have no regard for the potentially life changing effects that can arise from misuse.
And this is an issue I’ve raised with the police, as I did last year also. Because for us all to enjoy this weekend we need to be sure that only those permitted to purchase fireworks can do so.
That’s an issue for the police but also for shop keepers and residents alike to work together to keep fireworks out of the hands of those who aim to ruin it for us all.
One of the best parts of Bonfire night is seeing the community come together, huddling round a big fire watching a professional firework display and so whilst I’m not currently of the opinion that we need to see an outright ban on the purchase of fireworks, I would encourage all those who enjoy them to attend one of the events being held within the borough.
And as this week we remember the 5th of November, next week also has significance as we approach Remembrance Day on Thursday.
I, like millions from across the country will join in silence at the eleventh hour to pay our respects to those within the armed forces who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for freedom and democracy.
Part of that commemoration has come to be symbolised in the wearing of a poppy – the easiest thing we can all do to reflect on our shared history.
Because wearing a poppy with pride not only remembers those who gave their today, for our tomorrow but it supports the continued work of the Royal British Legion which does so much to support the veteran community, from help with mental health, housing or mobility needs.
As a young army cadet, one of the tasks I was set was walking the streets or standing outside of a supermarket, poppy box in hand. And so I’d encourage everybody to get involved, carry some loose change, donate and wear the poppy with pride.
Here in Burnley and Padiham you only need to attend a Remembrance Day Service to hear the long list of those who gave everything to protect us and our way of life.
So in this next 7 days of remembrance I want to say thank you to all those who form part of the armed forces family, past and present, thank you.
You can buy you poppy at supermarkets across Burnley and Padiham, or online at www.poppyshop.org.uk where other items are also available. Donations can also be made to the Royal British Legion at www.britishlegion.org.uk.