Donnington bonfire clean-up begins after 'fireworks fired into pallets' and set alight

These are the smouldering remains of the Donnington bonfire which was set alight by arsonists a week before the town's display.

What's left of the old fire, smouldering in a skip after arsonists set fire to the bonfire a week early
What's left of the old fire, smouldering in a skip after arsonists set fire to the bonfire a week early

It's believed a group of what appeared to be youths fired fireworks into the huge pile of pallets on Saturday evening before directly setting fire to them.

On Sunday morning the clean-up operation at Broadoaks Playing Field was under way, with the burnt out remains of the pallets cleared into a skip and the first replacements delivered.

Shropshire Fire and Rescue received six emergency calls after the fire was started, the first of which came in at 6.10pm.

The bonfire was set alight in an arson attack last night

A crew from Telford was sent to the scene, but concluded - along with organisers - that they could only leave fire to burn out.

The torching of the pallets earmarked for next Saturday's bonfire angered a number of residents.

Writing on Facebook, Councillor Jay Gough - who represents Donnington at Telford & Wrekin Council - said: "It seems like some little creature has lit the Donnington bonfire a week early out of spite and nastiness! This is awful!

"As a community can we please try and identify those responsible and report them?"

The pallets for the Donnington bonfire were set alight a week before the event. Photo: Cathy Leek

Other posts decried the arson and described those responsible as 'nasty' and 'mindless idiots'.

However, organisers have said the show will go on.

Mark Mitchell, whose family have run the event for 45 years, appealed for help to rebuild the stack ready for the bonfire event.

"The event will be going ahead on November 12, the bonfire is being rebuilt but we need as much help as we can get," he said.

The site of the bonfire after the burned-out remains were cleared away
Alf Mitchell, overseeing the rebuild

"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."

The rebuilding of the bonfire has started
New pallets have already been delivered to replace those lost in the fire on Saturday

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.

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.

Most Read

Most Read

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News