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Show organisers defend fireworks

PUBLISHED: 13:00 10 October 2001 | UPDATED: 15:18 03 March 2010

ORGANISERS of the forthcoming Ipswich fireworks spectacular have rejected controversial calls for all displays to be axed this year.

A safety campaign group has made a plea for Guy Fawkes displays to be abandoned as a mark of respect for the dead in New York and Washington.

ORGANISERS of the forthcoming Ipswich fireworks spectacular have rejected controversial calls for all displays to be axed this year.

A safety campaign group has made a plea for Guy Fawkes displays to be abandoned as a mark of respect for the dead in New York and Washington.

But organisers are pointing out that events like the giant firework display in Christchurch Park on November 3, presented by the 11th Ipswich Scout Group together with The Evening Star, will actually promote safety – and raise large sums for charity.

"This is a tradition going back many hundreds of years – and was itself created to celebrate the defeat of terrorism," said David Savidge, one of the organisers from 11th Ipswich Scouts.

The National Campaign for Firework Safety (NCFS) claimed the traditional Bonfire Night displays were no longer appropriate as the allied bombing campaign continued on Afghanistan.

Director Noel Tobin said: "The last thing people want is the daily bombardment of explosions for weeks on end. We shouldn't have to put up with it.

Scrapping displays would be a "mark of respect" for the American dead and for innocent civilians who may have perished in bombings on Kabul and other Afghan targets, added Mr Tobin.

The group has already written to the firework industry's trade body suggesting a voluntary ban on sales but has not yet received a reply, he said.

However, Mr Savidge commented: "Organised displays are far safer than people letting off fireworks in their back gardens. Many thousands of people enjoy these events – we regularly attract crowds of more than 30,000."

This year's display in Christchurch Park will mark the 30th birthday of the very popular event, and the 20th anniversary of The Evening Star's sponsorship in 1981.

Evening Star Editor Nigel Pickover said today: "We have been delighted to sponsor the firework display for the last 20 years and will be delighted to continue it this year and in the future."

All proceeds of the event will go to the Scouts and other local charities, and leading Suffolk-based firm Shell Shock will once again be letting off the pyrotechnics, accompanied by chart hits from the last 30 years.

John Woodhead, of firework industry trade body the British Pyrotechnists Association said: "The Prime Minister has publicly asked that UK citizens go on with their lives as normal.

"We see no reason why this shouldn't apply to Guy Fawkes Night celebrations any more or any less than other events in the calendar."

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