WITH summer fundraising now wrapped up, organisers have warned the community-funded return of a much-loved fireworks display is ‘going down to the wire’.
Despite residents raising more than £3,600 toward the Stockheath Common spectacular in Leigh Park, the group which rallied to save it is still on the hunt for a further £2,000 – with just two months until its return.
The figure was floated after Friends of Stockheath Common Fireworks (FSCF) drew a line under their calendar of summer fundraisers at the weekend.
On Saturday, The Heron pub in Havant offered up its premises for a bustling family fun day, collecting £632– before the group’s final car boot sale followed on Sunday.
And although turnout to these was ‘very good’, says FSCF chairman Craig Cockram, his team must come up with the extra cash to make a bonfire night display possible.
‘Everybody had a really great time on Saturday – it was a relaxing afternoon with a lot of fun,’ he said.
‘With more than 300 people at the pub at one point, the turnout showed how passionate local people are about this.
‘But we are still short on the cash, so we are going to have to go to Havant Borough Council with a begging bowl.’
As previously reported, the authority withdrew its funding for the free annual display last year – triggering Mr Cockram and his committee to draw up an emergency plan.
However, an appeal for support from the council is now looking likely, with a meeting at the Plaza set to take place next week.
Councillor Malc Carpenter, who serves as an FSCF committee member, says there will be a ‘huge hole in the community’ if the display fails to materialise for 2018 – with some bad luck and a lack of donations to blame.
‘One week, the car boot sale on Stockheath Common couldn’t go ahead because there were travellers there and another there was awful rain,’ he said.
‘But aside from that, there would be a huge difference if the thousands who usually go to the fireworks could spare £1 – because they’re the ones who could now miss out.’
Following Saturday’s fun day, Mr Cockram has extended ‘huge thanks’ to The Heron, its staff and the community who attended and helped raise money.
Irrespective of the fate of this year’s event, he confirmed the pub has offered to stage two fun days for the cause next year.
Anyone who would like to make a donation to the Friends of Stockheath Common Fireworks can do so by contacting email@example.com, or using the email address as a Paypal recipient.
Alternatively, players can select the group as a beneficiary in the Havant Community Lottery, at havantlottery.co.uk