'Wonderful' annual fireworks display organised by Leighton-Linslade Rotary club is scrapped

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The club will no longer hold the yearly display – but it’s all systems go for Santa

Leighton-Linslade Rotary Club has announced with a heavy heart that it will no longer be running its annual firework display.

After a rainy 2019 show at Brooklands School that was followed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the club feels that the cost benefits "are not there" for it to be able to make money for charity.

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But the club says it will look into an "alternative" event for the autumn period.

Leighton Buzzard Fireworks 2017 (Photo: Jane Russell)Leighton Buzzard Fireworks 2017 (Photo: Jane Russell)
Leighton Buzzard Fireworks 2017 (Photo: Jane Russell)

A Rotary spokesman told the LBO: "I suppose you could say it's a victim of the pandemic. 2019 was the last time we did the fireworks and it was one of those November nights which poured with rain. We didn't make any money, putting it bluntly.

"Then the pandemic came along and we had two years without it. The club has decided that we don't really think the cost-benefits are there for us to make money for charity in the same way that we have done in the past.

"Then there are a few periphery things, such as the environment. Even the council [Central Bedfordshire] has advised people to opt for quieter fireworks, which is quite difficult when you are trying to organise a big event. But I don't blame them for doing it.

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"It costs a lot of money to put on an event and if it pours with rain then not many people come."

He added: "Even little logistical things, like people paying on the gate and not having cash. It's having to upscale with WiFi, card readers. Again, it's an additional factor."

The Rotary Club has decided that it "won't progress with fireworks anymore", but that it will look at "an alternative".

The spokesman said: "The other [alternative] thing that came into thinking is the change in times. Kids these days make a big thing of Halloween, and by its very nature it's the week before fireworks.

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"Meanwhile, fireworks certainly isn't as big as it was 20 or 30 years ago..."

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Leighton-Linslade Town Councillor, Steve Jones, Conservative leader, said: "It's been a wonderful event over the years and it is a shame that they don't feel able to put it on. But there we go, it seems that it's another victim of Covid.

"I think people looked forward to it and it was a one-off. If I was around with my family we would go.

"I'm very sorry to hear but I do understand the reasons."

The spokesman concluded: "We sympathise in the very sense that the fireworks has been an integral part of the calendar for a long time, but we really do feel that it would be wrong of us to place any charitable funds at risk. I don't think that we can deliver a really good, quality display without there being significant risk - and we haven't even mentioned insurance.

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"At the end of the day, the cost benefits are just not there."

However, with Christmas on the horizon the club is pleased to announce that "it's all systems go" for Santa, and his route will be announced shortly.

The popular 'Santa tracker' will be back, while the sleigh has been refurbished and there will even be extra reindeer!

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