Countdown to big Donnington fireworks display despite signs hitch
It's one of a Telford's biggest events, looked forward to by thousands of people each year.
But the future of Donnington Bonfire is at risk, as increasing costs and difficulties with the advertising make it harder and harder to run.
Organiser Mark Mitchell said that nearly 80 posters had been taken down at the request of Telford & Wrekin Council advertising the 29th annual bonfire, set to be held off Wellington Road in Donnington on November 11.
The removal of the signs has led to an increased cost in advertising the event – and panic from regulars that this year's event had been cancelled.
But the council said it had been working with Mark over the issue.
"It could be the last one," he said. "If we can't afford it, we can't do it.
"There's more rules and regulations and it makes it more difficult every year. I've been planning this year's event since May. Our first meeting about it was in April. People don't see all the hard work. They see the pretty lights, they don't see the effort behind it. They think because it's on council land, it's council run and it should be free of charge, but it doesn't work like that.
"Everything has to be paid for. The bonfire, all the staff, road closures, council fees for the ground – we do it all ourselves.
"As long as we can pay for it, we'll keep doing it."
Mark said that they were hoping this year would be the biggest event yet – and hinted that next year, given the chance, could be even bigger.
"In previous years we've had about 8,000 visitors. We're aiming for 10,000 to 12,000 this year," he said.
"We've got over 30 adult rides, numerous kids' rides and two fireworks displays.
"Next year is our 30th year, and we're going across two days. It's all in the planning at the minute.
"We'll be holding a double event next year. On the Sunday we might do a concert for 50 years of Telford. It's all the planning stages, nothing is 100 per cent."
Mark said he was "very disappointed" when he found out that about 80 signs would have to be taken down.
"In previous years the council has said where to put the signs and we've done that," he said. "Now we can't have the signs up.
"I think they're trying to make a rule and stick to it, but it's not helping the people of Donnington. We're very disappointed.
"It means we're having to spend money to advertise it in other ways, meaning the event is costing more money to put on."
Russell Griffin, of Telford & Wrekin Council, said: "We have been working with the organiser of the bonfire about the advertising of this popular annual event.
“There have been several banner style signs that we have requested should be removed and the organiser complied with that request. The organiser has made a further request to erect other signage on council land across Telford but some of the suggested locations were too close to roads. We have however granted permission for one sign in the vicinity of the magistrates court to be installed.
“The organiser has also promised to have signs erected on private land and has sought relevant land owners’ permission to erect these signs. We haven’t taken any signs down ourselves.”
For more information about Donnington Bonfire, including fundraising efforts for Severn Hospice, visit the Donnington Bonfire page on Facebook.