WHAT: Fireworks with Bexhill Bonfire Society
WHEN: Saturday 25TH April 2015
WHERE: THE POLEGROVE, BEXHILL ON SEA
WHY: To celebrate St Georges Day
Last November 2014, saw the members of the Bexhill Bonfire Society ready to hold a fireworks display, the first in almost a century. But, thanks to poor weather conditions and resistance from the Council, this had to be postponed until April 2015 when they decided that the celebration should be for Saint George’s day instead.
Bexhill was one of the original Sussex Bonfire Societies which began following the taking of the lives of several protestant town folk from across the Sussex region during the ‘Marian Persecutions’ for their protestant religious beliefs. Seventeen local men and women were burned at the stake who became the Sussex Martyrs.
Now, make no mistake, the societies aim is not to berate the Catholic faith, rather it is to acknowledge that with each change of monarch, there was a shift in the country’s permitted religion.
During the reign of King Henry VIII, he moved away from the Catholic Faith in order to marry Anne Boleyn, who had refused his advances. But, he was desperately in love with Anne and could not get his marriage to Catherine of Aragon annulled whilst he remained under the control of the Pope.
The break with Rome was a long hard-fought battle eventually, in 1534 the Act of Supremacy was brought into effect and Henry was bestowed the title of Supreme Head on earth of the Church of England.
As you might appreciate, having been told they could no longer follow the Catholic Faith (which they had been doing for decades), the people changed over to the English-speaking Church of England and carried on supporting Christianity for some twenty years whilst under Henry’s rule. At this point, indoctrinated into the Church of England, the people liked the new faith that was easy to follow being in English instead of Latin until his death when his daughter, Mary, born to Catherine of Aragon came to the throne.
Mary 1st overturned all of the decisions made by her father, reinstating the Catholic Church as the overall ruler in 1553. She was determined to rid the country of this and vowed to burn at the stake any person for the ‘crime’ of being a protestant killing hundreds of men, women and children (including those who lost their lives in Sussex) in the process gaining her the title of ‘Bloody Mary – all in the name of religion.
Today’s societies still carry 17 burning crosses in memory of those who lost their lives at the hand of Mary 1st and they also burn effigies of the Pope as representative of the Catholic regime alongside other creations in the image of celebrities from across the last couple of decades.
The Bexhill Bonfire Society has not displayed for almost a hundred years so it is lovely to see some of the old traditions resurrected for the celebration of England’s Patron Saint George.
The entertainment is as follows:
6:00pm Gates Open.
6:30pm Entertainment provided by Georgia Steel, singer/songwriter and pianist. The Hellcats, a rockabilly band and Intruda with Kidzieg a local rapper.
9:00pm FIREWORKS by Renegade Pyrotechnics.
9:20pm Dorey the Wise – local artiste.
Please note that whilst this is a completely free event, they are limited to 1500 places for safety reasons so we recommend that you contact them via their FB site “Bexhill Bonfire Guys” for ticket information and, as they do this for charity, please DIG DEEP and pop it in one of the buckets which will be around about.
You can take your own food and beverages along but there will be a huge Hog Roast and a licensed bar alongside other concession stands. Should be a great evening out for all the family.