CHAWTON village not only needed crowd control but traffic control, with one visitor describing the Winchester Road “more like the M25” as cars drove in to enjoy the bonfire night celebrations.
They joined villagers on the moonlit cricket club field for Saturday night’s fireworks fun, the display being held on nearby Simon’s Strip.
As always, weeks of preparation had gone into making it a special community event, with pleas for dry wood and materials for the bonfire going out weeks before and also recruiting helpers not just for the night to make sure all went well but for the clearing up on Sunday morning.
It is very much a village highlight but one Chawton loves to share with people from the wider community, and this year around 1,500 enjoyed the night and the food, organised by the Scouts, and the licensed bar run by the cricket club.
Entry was free but people were asked to give a donation to fund next year’s bonfire night celebrations and good causes, and judging by the four-figure sum raised everyone was making sure it will go ahead again in 2018.
As in previous years, the night was organised by Martin Whittock and his wife Jayne, helped by a team of villagers.
Martin said: “We had good support all the way through, building the bonfire and the clearing up afterwards. The whole event had a good community feel to it and we were pleased at how many people came to enjoy it.”
And he added: “The Alton under-15s football team did a good job of crowd control.”
One woman wrote on social media that it was the first time she had come to Chawton’s fireworks but would “definitely be coming back next year”.
Martin and Jayne also went one better this year and instead of one Guy they had two.
“We put them on an old wooden bench to keep each other company, and then on top of the bonfire,” said Martin.
He and his wife said they were grateful to all those who came and pleased at the amount raised, which will be shared by the cricket and football club and the Scouts.
“The rest of the money will go to local good causes and to fund next year’s bonfire night in Chawton,” he said.