ORGANISERS of an annual firework display have warned it may not return for 2018 unless the community unites to raise funds.
Thousands each year enjoy the Stockheath Common bonfire night festivities in Leigh Park, but the much-loved fixture has fallen on hard times since it lost its funding from Havant Borough Council in 2017.
Now, the group which rallied to save it – made up of councillors and members of the community who love the event – is calling for urgent backing to make its 2018 return possible.
Craig Cockram, 50, is the chairman of the Friends of Stockheath Common Fireworks, which was assembled in November last year.
He said he is ‘starting to get worried’ about the free event’s future.
‘So far we have managed to raise about £2,700, but there is still a very long way to go before we have all our costs covered,’ he said.
‘After the event nearly didn’t go ahead last year, we hoped we would have a better response from the people of Havant.
‘But I’m worried everybody is thinking there is still plenty of time to raise money, just because the event takes place in November.
‘We have to do a lot behind the scenes way before that and if we don’t have the funds, it just can’t go ahead.’
With just over four months on the clock until the so-called ‘spectacular’ is pencilled to return to Stockheath Common, organisers still have £2,800 left to raise.
But they have not forgotten the efforts of those who pushed them within just £100 of the half-way point.
Mr Cockram said: ‘We owe a message of huge thanks to everyone who has helped so far.’
To keep the event alive, the Friends of Stockheath Common are drawing up plans for a number of fundraising outings – with a fun day at The Heron pub, in Petersfield Road, Havant, already confirmed for Saturday, September 1.
Sunday car boot sales on Stockheath Common could soon add to that list, as well as an additional summer fair.
Battins ward councillor, Jo Lowe, has urged all Havant residents to get behind the popular display is too late.
She said: ‘This event is a staple and there would be a huge hole in the Leigh Park community without it.
‘If anyone can raise money, or has an idea on how to, please get in touch.’
To donate via Paypal or enquire, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also select Friends of Stockheath Common Fireworks as a beneficiary throughthe Havant Community Lottery, at havantlottery.co.uk.