An estimated 10,000 people witnessed an explosive cacophony of sound and colour as 178 kilograms of gunpowder propelled more than 3,000 fireworks into the night sky. Not put off by the inclement weather, spectators also experienced all the ‘fun of the fair’ and an array of entertainers including fire breathers and stilt walkers.
Zak Pinnock, nine, from Gosport, said: ‘I have really enjoyed the fireworks and fairground. It was also cool to see the fire breathers.’
Father, Lee Pinnock, 39, added: ‘Despite the rain, the firework display has been brilliant.’
Running for over a decade, the display has now become an annual event for some families.
Jane Collins, who was attending with with son, Archie, 11, said: ‘We come to the display every year and the fireworks are always fantastic.’
One of the key aims for HMS Sultan commanding officer, Captain John Voyce, is to further develop links between the naval base and the local community.
Captain Voyce said: ‘Tonight is all about community engagement and giving something back to the local area of which we are part. It’s about everyone coming together – sailors, staff and local residents – to enjoy a fantastic night. This year even more so with the naval staff mixing with the public and selling tickets and merchandise.’
It’s a sentiment echoed by Lee.
‘I think these events are a brilliant idea. The base takes up such a large area and they have the space to do it and so it’s great to see them giving something back to the local community,’ he said.
Captain Voyce also stressed the event helps to raise thousands of pounds for charity.
‘Tonight will have raised around £7,000 for local and national charities such as Motiv8 and the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity. This is just one of a number of fundraising events we host throughout the year with all the money going into one large pot which we then distribute to different charities,’ he explained.
Gosport resident Gemma Pack, 37, added: ‘The fireworks have been really spectacular and it’s even better to know it has helped to raise money for good causes.’