Remembering bonfire nights at Tipner

Jo and Rhys Williams competing in a nighttime navigational competition in East Hampshire

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Although we still celebrate fireworks night, most events are now organised displays.

But it was not that many years ago that people organised their own with massive bonfires in gardens or on wasteland.

Most were made by local gangs of boys who started collecting huge piles of wood weeks before the big night.

It was always highly competitive with rival gangs often raiding each others’ stacks.

I have even heard of 
some boys who used to sleep inside the bonfire to stop anyone making off with the much-treasured tinder.

One fire I know of at Eversley Crescent, Leigh Park, was on the central green, not far from the houses that surrounded it.

It was massive and when the fire was lit the heat was such that residents were afraid the houses, some 50 yards from the fire, would go up.

The fire brigade from Havant was called to damp it down.

Since those days a telegraph pole has been set up in the middle of the green - so no more fires.

Roger Bell, from Stamshaw, remembers bonfire night on Stamshaw foreshore long before the M275 was built.

All the roads leading down from Twyford Avenue had their own bonfire and then one massive one on what was called Stamshaw Green which was on the site of the old swimming pool.

Wood and other material was collected from 
mid-October and the fires were lit when the tide went out.

‘Happy days and fond memories’ says Roger.