Welcome to Ripley Bonfire and the new normal, having endured two years of lock downs and social restrictions. This year as in previous years, you will still be able to enjoy our Huge Bonfire, Fantastic Fireworks, Mammoth Funfair, Refreshing Licenced Bar and Delicious Food Concessions, all of which have become part of the legionary Ripley Bonfire Celebrations.
As you are aware the last two years Ripley Bonfire Celebrations were cancelled due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. In 2020, as the Bonfire Association, we had no choice in the cancellation, due to being in lockdown. In 2021, whilst some events were starting to take place around the UK, the Committee made the difficult decision in cancelling the event for the second time, as it was felt that it would be wrong to proceed, with a potential 10,000 people coming into our small village, especially with no controls and at a time when we as a country were still in crisis with many people still suffering and a Nation still wearing face masks and trying to social distance. Yes, a difficult decision but hopefully the responsible decision.
Despite not holding events in 2020 and 2021, we were still able to distribute £4,370 to various community groups and charities detailed below:
Ripley Parish Council
Surrey Air Ambulance
Villages Medical Centre
Committee met and with a unanimous decision it was agreed that we would start to put arrangements in place for 2022. It was at this meeting that two of our long standing committee members Zelda Whittern and our chairman Vernon Wood decided to stand down. Whilst both still remain involved with the Association in Honorary positions, I thank them both for their long service and wish them both well for the future.
Having made the decision to proceed this year, the Committee has been working very hard throughout the summer to put this year’s event on. One thing that has been identified is that the Pandemic has accelerated us towards a cashless society, for which, when you consider that our event is completely free to all and our main source of income has been the street/bucket collection, then this could cause us a financial problem, especially as it seems that every aspect of our expenditure has increased considerably over the past three years, from Fireworks to First Aid and from Insurance to Toilets and Waste Disposal.
Therefore when you see our collectors with their Yellow Buckets please give generously, and for those that have gone ‘cash-less’ then if we can’t find you, please endeavour to find a collector or a collection point that has one of our new ‘contactless card readers’. Hopefully your generosity will ensure that the Legendary Ripley Bonfire Celebrations will continue for future generations.
Have a great evening, please stay safe and have a safe journey home and hopefully we will see you all again 2023.
RBA Chairman & Safety Officer