23 October 2018   |  Last Updated 15-01-2015 01:11

      Oldham bonfire back with a bang

      OLDHAM Council has brought back its annual bonfire event after a 10-year absence in an attempt to maximise public safety and reduce the strain on emergency services.


      Nearly a decade has passed since the town of Oldham last saw a community event celebrating Guy Fawkes. Lack of funding lead former organisers the Middleton Round Table to stop running the annual bonfire display which attracted crowds of 10,000 people


      When the Labour party was elected to govern the local council in May 2011, councillors believed ‘Oldham deserves an annual bonfire’ making ‘it a priority to bring this back’. As a result, the council took control of organizing the return of the bonfire display.


      Amanda Chadderton, Labour councillor for Royton South, thinks the bonfire will be a great addition to the list of successful events the town has already held this year.


      “There is an appetite for it,” she said.


      “Over the past 12 months we have had a number of community based events such as the Olympic Torch that came through the town centre, the Oldham Beer Festival, and recently we’ve had the Oldham half marathon. These have attracted a large number of people.


      “So now we believe the time is right to bring back the Oldham bonfire.”


      Councillor Chadderton described funding the event as “a small price to pay” as it would help reduce the pressure on the emergency services whilst also providing a safe environment for people at the event.


      “Year after year, unauthorised bonfires put a massive strain on our services, and we think the council has a duty to protect residents,” she said.


      “Safety is a paramount concern to us and that is one of the reasons we have brought it back, to dissuade people from holding bonfires at their own homes, to dissuade people from going to unauthorized bonfires.


      “At least here it can be a safe and controlled environment.”


      Also included at the family event will be a small funfair, street performers, music, fire shows, fireworks and, of course, the lighting of the bonfire.


      The free event takes place on Monday (Nov 5) at the Boundary Park car park in Oldham, starting at 18:00pm. 


      By Liam McCallion