Fireworks could be snuffed out

SATURDAY’S pyrotechnic display in the West of Scotland rugby ground could be the last - unless permanent funding is found for the event.

Revellers will see £5,200 worth of fireworks being set off at 8pm, but this may be the last time the spectacle is seen unless cash problems can be resolved.

Organiser Alan Oliver said that a plan to make the event free to the public has not come to fruition - because it hasn’t received the backing of Bearsden and Milngavie’s community councils.

He had wanted them - as well as East Dunbartonshire Council (EDC) - to contribute £1000 each every year.

This would have meant the event would have a secure funding stream and not be reliant on recouping costs on the door on the night.

Mr Oliver, who also helps run the annual Milngavie and Bearsden Highland Games, said that relying on takings on the night is always something of a lottery as turnout can be affected by the weather, what day of the week November 5 falls on and how many people decide to watch the show from the surrounding streets rather than paying for admission.

He said that securing a guaranteed funding stream would mean that people would not have to be charged for entry, something which would also help pay for the fun fair and food stalls which would benefit from increased footfall.

However, he said that although EDC agreed to the plan, the community councils have not - throwing next year’s event into doubt.

He said: “We’ve got a problem in that every year it’s not on a Saturday, it doesn’t make money and we are liable for that. This year we will probably be okay because November 5 falls on a Saturday and that always increases turnout.

“It’s all very insecure but I wanted to secure funding and then make it a free community event, with perhaps people being asked for a donation.

“We took a terrible hit at last year’s Highland Games because of the atrocious weather so there are money problems meaning that next year there may not be a firework display.”

The event does not make a profit, with all money raised being ploughed back into cost and any extra to the community through the rugby club and the Highland Games.

Mr Oliver said: “I am quite happy to do my bit, but the event needs to be put on a secure financial footing.”

He said he is still looking for organisers or businesses to come forward to help save the fireworks.

E-mail him on alan@aroprint.co.uk for more details.

Have fun but be careful on Bonfire Night - see page 18.