Scholastic

Firework night success story

Friends of Pangbourne Primary School in Berkshire have been running their Firework Fiesta since 1997. Their secretary, Karen Ward, shares her success of running a fireworks display at school:

'The event was started by a parent mum whose husband did the training for firework displays and he had a group of friends who always helped. It has always been a school event, although we have had valuable support over the years from our local Rotary and also from the Lions, who regularly provide marshalls. We often have teachers helping, and governors and the head teacher on hand to support the fundraising. On the day we have around 10-15 marshalls and another 20-30 people on the stalls and gates.

We are very lucky and grateful to have a parent dad who has trained and run the display for us from the start. We get lots of compliments every year and the display usually lasts 20-25 minutes. We spend around £2000 each year on professional grade fireworks. St John's Ambulance cost around £200 per event. £20 diesel to light the bonfire. These are the main costs as we are very lucky to own a lot of equipment allowing us to host and run these events in school.

We have a large bonfire which is usually lit 30 minutes before the fireworks and has to die down before the fireworks can be lit. Once the event is established the wood tends to just arrive. Families, businesses with wood and pallets all come forward - we have had whole Sheds, you name it over the years! We try to just get the wood delivered as late a possible/on the morning of the event, however, it never works that easily and we always have to move it around. Takes around 3 hours to build the bonfire and the Brownies or Guides often supply a Guy to go on the top! The biggest thing with a bonfire on the school site is clearing the debris the next day when the embers have cooled down. All the ash/metal workings needs raking and removing from the school field and putting into bins. This can be a very long job depending on how many volunteers come on the day after the event. Luckily the grass does recover in time for Sports Day!

Our barbeque is very successful and we sell West Berkshire Beer each year, mulled wine and soft drinks which go down well. We did try selling jacket potatoes one year, however they were difficult to eat standing up, need cutlery and were generally less successful. Glow toys and a Tombola contribute towards profits too.  We run some games for kids to keep them entertained before the firework display and last year we also had a Fire Spinner demonstration, which went down a storm!

We started off selling paper tickets through school and in 2 local shops, however 2 years ago introduced Paypal and payments online which has made the ticketing and payment process much easier. We have always made tickets in advance cheaper than payment on the day - £10 for adults, £7.50 for age 12 and over and FREE for children under 12. We make roughly £5,000 profit each year'


Have you run a fireworks display at school? Want to share any advice? Drop the editorial team an email.


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