The Ripley Bonfire Association was established in 1955, however, bonfire celebrations existed in the village for many years before this. Whilst the exact date of the first bonfire in the village is not known, and is now probably lost to the mists of time, the earliest recorded information on the bonfire that we know of dates back to 1934.
The bonfire was originally run by a variety of different organisations within the village. In the middle of the last century, due to the success of the bonfire, it had become harder to run and the decision was taken to adopt a more centralised approach and so in 1955 the Ripley Bonfire Association was borne. The Association was not only in charge of running the bonfire but also responsible for collecting donations from the crowd, which were used to fund the event and to pay for the Over 60s Christmas Lunch – a tradition which is still going strong today.
The Association, which is a not-for-profit organisation, has continued to run the bonfire ever since and consists of 19 committee members who meet at regular intervals throughout the year to plan that year’s bonfire and other local events we are involved in. As the bonfire has continued to grow over the decades, now attracting up to 12,000 people, it has required more planning and more hands on deck to ensure that it is not only a successful night but also a safe one.
It would not be possible to run the bonfire in its current format without the help and support from a much wider group of volunteers. These volunteers perform a variety of tasks both leading up to and during the event, including building the bonfire, erecting marquees, collecting money and marshaling the crowds. Without this group of volunteers it would not be possible for us to run such a successful and safe Bonfire Night and our thanks go out to all of them.
We are always interested to hear from people who would be able to help, be that throughout the year or just on the night. If you would be interested in helping run this amazing event then please visit the ‘Get Involved’ page on this website. On there you will be able to find out more about the different areas where you can help and how you can contact us to express your interest.
As well as the bonfire, the Association also runs a barbeque stall at the Ripley Event in July and a mulled wine stall at the Ripley Christmas Fair in December. If you would like to find out more about these two events please visit the ‘Useful Links’ page under ‘Welcome’ from the Main Menu.
The Ripley Bonfire Association would like to take this opportunity to wish you a very enjoyable and safe Bonfire Night.
RIPLEY BONFIRE ASSOCIATION COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Chairman and Safety Officer – Steve Hill
Secretary – Steve Lock
Treasurer – Tony Miller
Vice Chairman – Peter Hookins
Nigel Bruder (Catering)
Dan Hill (Assistant Safety Officer)
In no particular order, our heartfelt thanks go out to all those listed below.
All the Marshals & Collectors – Without their help we couldn’t continue
Mr. Ayers – For housing coach and equipment
Eric Milam – For driving the tractor for Queen’s coach
Jo and Pat – Tea for the bonfire builders on Sundays
The Bonfire Builders – For turning up in all weather to build the bonfire
Grayshott Farm Ltd – For the use of the field in Newark Lane
Ripley Court School – For making the Guy and managing the ‘Lost Children’
The Baron – For the lighting in the Dunsborough car park
Ripley Explorers – For managing the Dunsborough car park
S.E.R.V. – For managing the road closures
Peter Shoesmith – For the loan of a truck over the bonfire period
Surrey Search and Rescue – For managing the Newark Lane car park
Stephen Isaac and Paul Simmonds – For the use of a tractor for the three weeks building of the bonfire
Darren Mitchell (Advanced Tree Services) – For use of a tractor to clear up and remove ash
Steve Cowland of noisyspace.com – For the design and the hosting of our website
In addition, there are many others that have helped us along the way and our thanks go out to all of them for their direct or indirect help.