Donnington firework event 'will go ahead' after massive bonfire destroyed in arson attack

Organisers are working to rebuild a massive bonfire destroyed in a 'heartbreaking' arson attack.

The bonfire was set alight in an arson attack last night
The bonfire was set alight in an arson attack last night

Donnington's bonfire, which was built and ready for the event on Saturday, November 12, was destroyed last night.

Organiser Mark Mitchell, whose family have run the event for 45 years, said that a group of what appeared to be youths were responsible – first firing fireworks towards the huge pile of pallets, and then directly setting fire to the stack.

The fire service had attended the scene shortly after 6pm but concluded there was no option but to leave fire to burn out.

Mr Mitchell said the event will definitely go ahead next weekend, but a huge clean-up and re-build operation is now required ahead of Saturday.

Mr Mitchell said they would be on site today, first clearing away huge quantities of ash left by the fire – and appealed for anyone who wants to help to head down to the site at Broadoaks Playing Field.

He has asked anyone with a mini digger that could be used to help clear the site to head down and help.

He said there had been a number of offers of materials and support but that more would be needed.

Speaking this morning Mr Mitchell said: "It has gone, and we need as much help as we can get.

"The event will be going ahead on November 12, the bonfire is being rebuilt but we need as much help as we can get. It is things like machinery we need, like a mini-digger to get the ash out of the way. We are having to do it by hand at the moment."

Mr Mitchell said he had been on site with his father last night when the bonfire was lit.

He said: "They were setting fireworks off at the end of the field and they were sending rockets towards it. We went up there to chase them off and then they have chucked something on there and it has set it on fire."

He said that it had been a scary and upsetting incident, adding: "It was heart-breaking. My dad is 84-years-old and he's chasing people around the field to keep them away."

He added: "We are working our hardest to get it back up and running but no matter what the event is going ahead on November 12."

The Leader of Telford & Wrekin Council, Councillor Shaun Davies, also said that the authority had been in touch with Mr Mitchell and would be providing support to make sure the event takes place.

He said: "I have spoken to the organisers of Donnington Bonfire, we are working together and are very confident the event will take place as planned.

"All is in hand and Councillor Jim Lavery is linked into the work taking place. The great community event is saved."

The Donnington Bonfire event is due to take place on November 12 with gates open from 4pm before firework displays at 7pm and 9pm.

Admission is £3, paid in cash on the gate, with those under one-metre-tall getting in for free.

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News