Jesmond Fireworks Display
Although four events from 2011 were highlights of the year, the display last year was cancelled at short notice on safety advice due to weather which was more severe than forecast. This produced a considerable loss, and the club’s charitable work is at risk if this was to happen again.
The event organisers have researched a range of options to adapt the event to reduce the risks posed by a repeat disappointment, and are developing these with the aim of an adapted event in 2017.
Olwyn Hocking, club event organiser, said: “As a charitable organisation, the club can’t afford a repeat of the large loss incurred due to the unpredicted squall which led to the cancellation of our display, and many others, that evening in 2015. Such a loss inevitably undermines our ability to support sport and community activities.
“Many apologies for the disappointment caused – we know how popular this is with local residents and members, as well as the wonderful event supporters and sponsors. No-one is more disappointed than our many event volunteers.”
***Why is a different approach needed for future Fireworks Displays?
The Display contingency planning had been based on expectations that poor weather would mean the event could probably be postponed ahead of the actual day, drawing on forecasts, ground inspections and professional advice. The events of 2015 unfortunately produced a more extreme set of circumstances where conditions and forecast were acceptable, but a brief severe squall, with winds far stronger than forecast, meant the actual event had to be abandoned after everything was in place. This greatly increased the loss incurred, as well as the difficulties for visitors and participants. Other events affected on that night in 2015 have also had to reconsider their approach, and some have been cancelled in 2016.
***What alternatives were looked into?
The club has taken advice from other events and looked into options such as a different size of event; a different location; other options to base some event facilities on hardstanding (rather than grass); a different approach to insurance. Despite the considerable goodwill for the event, none of these have as yet produced a viable new approach.
***Does this mean there will never be a Fireworks Display again?
The event has been a highlight of the club year and a highlight for local residents. We’re doing all we can to ensure a return of the fireworks display in 2017 and the club volunteers are keen to continue to explore new options to make this as viable as possible. Any suggestions, advice or contacts will of course be greatly welcomed.