Chailey Bonfire Society is able to trace it's history back to the 5th November 1866 when the Chailey Bonfire Boyes celebrated with a procession (visiting most of the public houses in Chailey), the burning of the effigy "Guy Fawkes", beer, bands and fireworks to end the evening off.
The following is an extract from the Sussex Express records office from the 10th November 1866:
"On Monday evening, upwards of forty boys united together in order to celebrate the return of the fifth. Soon after dusk a procession started from the green, and after visiting most of the principal houses in the neigbourhood, returned to the Five Bells. Here they were now joined by the band and in a very short time after defiled to the "bonfire", and we can assure our readers that it was literally a "good" fire. At this stage of the proceedings the effigies of Guy Fawkes and that of a "friend", was consigned to the flames. During the rest of the evening tar-barrels were heaped up on the fire in fine style, and with the aid of a plentiful supply of fireworks and some excellent music from the band the evening passed off exceedingly well. On Tuesday evening the "bonfire boys" and their friends assembled at the Five Bells, to partake of a first class supper, which was put on the table in good style by the hostess, Mrs Hurst. After the cloth was removed, the chairman settled the business in hand, and a merry evening was spent, which concluded with "God save the Queen". - Click here to view a scanned copy.
In 1966 Dr. Jack Palmer, a GP practicing and living in South Chailey founded Chailey Bonfire Society to provide a safe and fun fireworks event for kids. This was due to the amount of burns incidents that he was seeing in his day to day job with the kids hurting themselves with fireworks.
The society almost collapsed due to lack of help and volunteers but Dr Jack Palmers son Dr Jonathan Palmer and the local residents came to the rescue and we are now coming up to our 50th Year as Chailey Bonfire Society in 2016.
The Present Day
We aim to hold at least 10 quality events every year to raise the money necessary to ensure that we can provide our core principles, which are:
- - The annual bonfire celebrations for the people of Chailey and surrounding areas.
- - Host a Christmas Party and Firework Display for the Senior Citizens of Chailey.
Our firework evening is designed as a family event and themed towards the children to celebrate the 5th November in a fun and safe way. The event always takes place on the 1st Saturday after the 5th. The torch lit procession usually comprises of steam engines, vintage vehicles and themed childrens floats. Village members and local non bonfire societies/clubs are invited to design floats and costumes. Two awards are presented every year for best float and costume in the procession.
Chailey Bonfire Society - Guy Set Piece from 2011
More Videos of our displays and events on our You Tube Channel by clicking on image link below.