16 November 2001

Lewes goes to blazes in a big way on bonfire night

MOST of the shops in Lewes are closed by 4pm on Nov 5 each year, including the two large supermarkets. The town centre is closed to traffic and there is an air of expectancy among the first of the thousands of people to converge upon the county town of Sussex.

As night falls, all sorts of characters in fancy dress appear out of the shadows. They congregate in their masses to take part in the grand torchlight procession through the town. There are many visiting bonfire societies as well as the five based in Lewes.

The procession starts with wreath-laying at the war memorial and finishes with firework displays at each of the five bonfire sites followed by prayers and the National Anthem.

In between, though, there is much fun and excitement and one of the bands starts off marching to the tune of Sussex by the Sea. Flaming barrels are hurled into the River Ouse by bonfire boys dressed in smugglers outfits.

This year there was an effigy of Osama bin Laden paraded around town before he was burnt and, of course, the most famous guy, Guy Fawkes, was also there to be destroyed yet again after 396 years. JH

Remember, remember…

Torch bearers in fancy-dress process through Lewis.