Falkirk bonfire night needs ‘penny for the Guy’ for fireworks

Guy (actually Guido) Fawkes no longer figures in many 'bonfire night' events - even although that is what the November 5 celebrations were supposed to be all about.
Guy (actually Guido) Fawkes no longer figures in many 'bonfire night' events - even although that is what the November 5 celebrations were supposed to be all about.

Falkirk event organisers are this week asking for the once-traditional “penny for the Guy” donation to fund next year’s extravaganza.

In a social media announcement from Falkirk Community Trust local residents are asked to chip in to keep the annual pyrotechnics going for a 2019 event.

The appeal echoes the one-time tradition which saw children asking passers-by to donate “a penny for the Guy” - which was an effigy of Guy Fawkes.

The cash collected would be spent on fireworks, and the “Guy” would be burned on the bonfire.

Burning effigies has now largely fallen out of favour, and outwith history books Guy Fawkes - and the actual reason for November 5 fireworks - has largely been forgotten.

However amid tight cash constraints many local authorities or their arms-length leisure organisations are still spending hefty sums on fireworks for the once-a-year commemoration of the failed 17th century Gunpowder Plot.

It was an attempt to assassinate James I of England and VI of Scotland, along with assorted politicians in Westminster.

What used to be called “Guy Fawkes Night” falls on exactly the correct night this year - November 5, when the plot was uncovered - but in common with many other areas Falkirk no longer explains why there is a “bonfire night”.

However while there is no longer any reason for the event, apart from public expectation of a fireworks display in early November, the cost of putting on a show can be seen as questionable at a time when many areas are trimming budgets on assets many argue are essential.

On the Falkirk Community Trust Facebook site residents are asked to contribute to a donation line with the message “Please donate now to keep your 2019 fireworks display burning”.

This year’s fireworks display is in Callendar Park on Monday, November 5 from 6.30pm, beginning with live music from Youth Music Initiative Advance band an 5 Strings.

Again, residents are being asked to “bring a £1 donation to support your local fireworks”.