Sell-out Clitheroe Castle Bonfire hits all-time high on ticket sales and fantastic £10k fundraising

High winds and rain failed to dampen the roaring success of this year’s Clitheroe Castle Bonfire, which has been described as the "best ever".

All-time high ticket sales resulted in a record-breaking sell-out and a splendid £10,000 raised for local schools and charities at this year’s Castle Bonfire - and all despite a less-than-perfect weather forecast in the run-up to the event.

Clitheroe’s original Castle Bonfire for 2021 was certainly the roaring success that the organising team had earlier predicted it would be!

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"Selling our full quota of online tickets a full 24 hours before the event was a first – but a nice problem to have this year: just a few physical tickets remained at the fabulous Banana News that quickly sold out during Saturday," said Andy Belcham, who chairs up the Castle Bonfire committee. "What this meant is that this year we have substantial proceeds all of which we plough back into the community – and for that we are very, very grateful."

Crowds - young and old - enjoy the spectacular Clitheroe Castle Bonfire. Picture by David Bleazard

Along with the unusual task of already being at full capacity by the launch of the bonfire, the committee had to contend with a difficult weather forecast.

"Very gusty winds were forecast, which caused considerable difficulty with the safe launching of fireworks and we had to put a number of contingency plans into place in the hours running up to the event," added Andy. "Fortunately, as we approached 7pm the rain had stopped and the wind sufficiently dropped that we were able to launch them… the fireworks didn’t completely go as planned – but we hope that our visitors understood the challenges we were up against and nevertheless enjoyed the show!’

"We have been overwhelmed this year by the good spirits and generosity of all those who attended – a lot of hours and hard work go into pulling events like this off professionally and there is an army of volunteers and supporters behind the committee who work together to ensure the safe, family friendly community event that we are well-known for. The fact that we have people returning year-on-year is truly appreciated. Here’s to next year!’

He added: "The Castle Bonfire committee want to particularly thank all stewards, volunteers and supporters of the event for their contributions, with specific thanks to David Brass, of Banana News for selling tickets on our behalf and to Ribble FM for providing the musical backdrop to the evening. We have so many who contribute with their time, plant, equipment and materials for the event these include Rufus Carr, Hanson Cement, Johnson Matthey, KIK, Ultraframe, Bibby, E+D Plant, Dents, Ribble Valley Borough Council and the many, many firms around the town that donated pallets. A special mention goes to Clitheroe Mayor Simon O’Rourke who officially placed the last pallet on the bonfire - giving it his mayoral blessing! This year the bonfire was lit by staff from Amberley Court Care Home who had travelled the furthest to attend – from Liverpool. A delighted Joanne, who coincidentally was celebrating her 50th birthday, had taken her staff to the bonfire as a break from the stress of dealing with Covid-19 – and the highlight of her visit was to be given this honour!

The event has been hailed a massive success. Picture by David Bleazard

‘We are now in the process of tallying up our accounts, but already know that this year our proceeds will top all previous years and stand at around £10,000. This is fantastic news – as it enables us to award those local schools and NHS charities who bid with strong donations," concluded Andy.

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This year these charities include St Michael and St John’s RC Primary School; Thorneyholme Primary School; St James CE Primary School; Hillside Specialist School and College; Friends of Barrow School; Friends of Serenity; ELHT; Community First Responders; Carers Link Lancashire; Clitheroe English Club; NW Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

To view all the pictures from the night, CLICK HERE