The Chairman’s Message

September 2019

This year the bonfire build was started on Sunday 6th October. Once again we fenced off the bonfire area which enabled us to have the bonfire built mainly with pallets and alleviated a lot of unburnable materials. As it worked so well we will be doing the same this year and dumping will only be allowed by prior arrangement. Local residents wishing to donate suitable material to the bonfire should contact the Ripley Bonfire Association on 01483 224717 to make arrangements to be allowed onto the green (normally on a Sunday morning in October). Please note that we are unable to collect any material. Also if you would like to volunteer to help with the build then come and join us on the 13th and 20th of October.

The 2018 Ripley Bonfire was another great success for us and therefore the local community groups that we support in and around the village received cheques. The building of the bonfire went well, which included an extra week prior to the actual build where volunteers helped some of the Committee members to do a bit of pruning and tidying up along the ‘Avenue’ by the children’s play area, which seems to be an ongoing project each year. Again we will be cutting back the trees adjacent to the Cricket Club. The bonfire itself was built in the usual three weekends thanks to the help and support from lots of people from in and around the village.

Our team of official Collectors will be amongst you again this year, walking round the village, many of them in fancy dress, vigorously rattling their buckets. Under the watchful eyes of Peter Hookins and Margaret Field we managed to collect £7,977.81p. I would like to thank all of the Collectors for their efforts, without which we would not be able to fund the event. Again they will all be wearing arm bands and tabards, which will have our logo appearing on them, so they can be easily recognised. Last year we had four specific collection points which worked well and we propose to have the same this year. They will be in Newark Lane, Toby Cottage and either side of the road by the Talbot. This year we will be experimenting with a card reader at the Newark Lane collection point, whereby visitors don’t need cash just their card! Don’t forget that your donations keep this event running from one year to the next.

It was a hard year for us all round, but we are pleased to say that it seemed that the new bar went well. Because the company we used provided their own staff to erect the marquee and man the bar, this alleviated a lot of the extra work which it usually entails.

The Ripley Bowls Club managed the Pig Stall again last year and look forward to them helping with it again this year. The Committee and I would like to thank them for their hard work. Also may I thank Nigel and his wife for cooking and carving the pork.

This year we are pleased to say that Phil Kite has managed to purchase some glows, but unfortunately will only have one stall, which will be situated in the triangle on the Green. They will again be wearing hi viz bibs which will have ‘Official Collectors’ on them, so if you are unsure please ask them on whose behalf they are selling them for.

Of course, our thanks must also go to Tommy and Denelia Benson and the whole of Benson’s Funfair for their continued support with all manner of things leading up to and during the event itself. Many of the things we do would not be possible without their help and donation. Unfortunately one of their sons, Tommy Jr, had a heart attack, but glad to say he is very slowly on the mend.

On the 9th February this year we were able to distribute £8,850 to various local community groups and charities detailed below:

Bowls Club

Cricket Club – Colts


Over 60s

Ripley Munchkins



Surrey Air Ambulance

Surrey Search and Rescue

Village Hall Development

Woking Hospice

In addition to financial support to these local organisations and charities, Ripley Bonfire has supported the following organisations with the loan of equipment such as no waiting cones, etc.:

Ripley Parish Council – Christmas Fair

Ripley Scouts – Ripley Rocks

Pirbright Festival

Surrey Wildlife Trust – residents of Ockham

Bentley Village Bonfire

Unfortunately we were unable to have our usual barbeque at the Ripley Event, as it was cancelled due to travellers encroaching on the Green. This prevented us from enabling us to raise much needed funds, which this creates every year. Hopefully it will not deter the Rotary from holding it next year.

At last year’s Christmas Fair we had our mulled wine stall and our thanks go to Jamie and his wife Lianne for all their hard work. As well as our stall we also helped by lending out different equipment. This year it is on Sunday 1st December so please come and join us in the festivities.

I would like to draw everyone’s attention to the fact that year in year out we are finding it more difficult to find Marshals to help us with the enormous crowds we are getting. If you are able to attend the bonfire between 5–12pm please get in touch with our Bonfire Coordinator, Steve Hill, on 07774 177771, or attend the Marshals meeting up the Cricket Club on Wednesday 23rd October at 7.30pm.

The parking situation has seemed to ease with people using our car parks. If you are unable to get into a car park please consider the people who have to use the footpaths. We have three car parks, Newark Lane (which holds roughly 1,000 cars), bottom of the Green and a small one at the back of the Legion in Rose Lane, so try and use these before you consider to park on the highway. We have found an organization who I hope have made it easier for you to park in the Newark Lane car park.

Lastly, I would again like to personally thank my Committee members who without their support it would make it an enormous task to put on this event without them. There are also a numerous amount of helpers who give up their time, before and on the evening of the event. I would like to thank them all.

All that remains is for the whole Committee and I to wish you all a very enjoyable and safe bonfire night and please do remember that we rely on donations so don’t forget to Chuck it in the Bucket!!

Vernon Wood

Chairman, Ripley Bonfire Association