Forty years of lighting up the skies with fireworks and raising funds for good causes launches an appeal to hit the £1m fundraising mark.
Fireworks at St Albans aims for the £1,000,000 mark.
It started as a partnership between the city hospital and the city’s cathedral to light up the skies with fireworks and keep children safe on Bonfire Night.
This year it celebrates its 40th anniversary and in that time the event, which is run entirely by volunteers, has raised over £900,000 for local charities – and has never missed a year – not even in 2020 when the country was in the grip of the Covid pandemic.
And to mark this landmark birthday, the organisers of the St Albans Cathedral Fireworks Spectacular have asked people to dig deep this year to raise the £100,000 needed to hit the £1m fundraising mark.
Paul Dean, Chairman of St Albans Fireworks Spectacular, said:
“Who would have thought that, from those modest beginnings all those years ago, today’s event is one of the largest in south-eastern England, attracting crowds in the region of 20,000 and raising over £900,000 for local charities.
“And this year we hope to make that fundraising total £ 1 million raised over the years for national and local charities and the Cathedral.”
It all started as a conversation between the then sub-dean of St Albans, Colin Slee, who went on to become the first Dean of Southwark, and the Chief Executive of St Albans City Hospital who were lamenting the number of fireworks-related injuries, particularly to children, in early November and how these had a huge impact on the A&E department.
They noted that these injuries were generally a result of back garden or inadequately organised fireworks displays and together decided that action was necessary: their solution was to organise a big display, which would outshine all competition.
For the first few years, it took place in the grounds of the hospital but soon switched to the lake in Verulamium Park with the Cathedral as the backdrop. It was an immediate success and fulfilled its aim of reducing fireworks injuries to children.
“What I am most proud of is that we have never missed a year – not even in 2020, despite Covid and a lockdown imposed in the preceding week, we still managed, with full police cooperation, a crowd-funded display consisting of a number of simultaneous firings from different, undisclosed sites around St Albans which meant that most people were able to see something from their own garden or street without congregating or breaching Covid regulations.”
Every year the Fireworks event raises funds for nominated charities. This year the chosen charities are Youth Talk, which provides confidential counselling to young people, and Open Door, which supports people who have experienced homelessness or have been at risk of sleeping rough.
You can donate directly to St Alban’s chosen charities by tapping the links below.
Youth talk https://youthtalk.org.uk/donate/
Open Door St Albans https://cafdonate.cafonline.org/18813#!/DonationDetails
St Albans Cathedral Fireworks Spectacular, Saturday 4 November 2023
Tickets are exclusively available online here.
Gates open at 6pm, fireworks start at 7.30pm.