More than 5000 people were able to enjoy the region’s biggest fireworks party on Saturday night after organisers worked through 60mph winds and driving rain to save Bournemouth Fireworks at the Littledown Centre.
As the weather took a turn for the worse, on Friday lunchtime safety advisors from Pains Fireworks highlighted potential problems with the way the site was arranged – unless the entire layout could be moved though 90-degrees the event would be lost.
“The problem was the wind,” says event director Michael Callaghan. “The direction and speed of the wind meant the viewing area had to be moved to keep people safe and prevent any possibility of debris landing near spectators.”
Working long into the night on Friday and from first light on Saturday the four-man team with Pains operations manager Peter Theakston, one of the world’s leading pyrotechnicians, reconfigured the site as the weather forced other events in the area to cancel or postpone.
“It was a huge undertaking and hard work, but fortunately the site is large enough to accommodate that level of change. Even so, the fact we were able to open and thousands of people enjoyed three brilliant displays is testament to the team’s safety knowledge and technical expertise. In the end it was warm and dry with very little wind – a perfect night for fireworks.”
Bournemouth Fireworks, the town’s biggest and best-loved fireworks party, has been held at the Littledown Centre since 1996. This year’s displays, including the famous White Knuckle, the latest and loudest display in the South, had a space theme in honour of the fiftieth anniversary of the first moon landing.
As well as three fireworks displays, thrill seekers enjoyed a giant late-night funfair, licensed bar and a full range of refreshments.
“Once again it was a great night for Bournemouth,” adds Michael. “We were able to get word out that the event was going ahead as a lot of people book in advance and travel from further afield.
“The feedback we’ve received has been incredibly positive – it just goes to show that people love a fantastic fireworks party whatever the weather.”