A historic bonfire event in Sussex is at risk of "dying" after a council pulled its funding.

Littlehampton Bonfire, described as the biggest celebration in the county outside of Lewes, is at risk of not running in 2025 after funding from the town council was pulled.

The council said its budget is too thinly stretched to accommodate the costs – but organisers of the event said the bonfire is a “splash of colour in a long dark winter” and should be saved.

Sue Baker, of Littlehampton Bonfire Society, said: “We would have to cut something like the fireworks. We get about 20,000 people each year and they don’t come for sparklers and a Catherine wheel.

"It's a hugely successful event and we work all year for this one night.

The Argus: Littlehampton Bonfire SocietyLittlehampton Bonfire Society (Image: Littlehampton Bonfire Society)

"People use local businesses and stay in local hotels - it's really good for the local economy.

"One business said it’s the best night of the year for them.

"It's so sad that all of these historical events are fading away because of a lack of interest.

"Slowly these events are dying because they are becoming so expensive."

Littlehampton Bonfire has been running for over 70 years and attracts thousands of visitors to the town each year, its organisers say.


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The event was forced to be cancelled last year due to adverse weather.

The bonfire society previously received £7,500 from Littlehampton Town Council, but in a recent decision councillors decided not to continue this funding.

The event costs the Bonfire Society £30,000 a year to run, but they estimate it would cost the council between £50,000 and £80,000 to run a similar event themselves.

The Bonfire Society say they would be eligible for a council grant, but the maximum they would be eligible for from this would be £750.

The Argus: Littlehampton BonfireLittlehampton Bonfire (Image: Littlehampton Bonfire Society)

In minutes from the council meeting, a spokeswoman for the council said: “Taking into consideration the reserves held by the society, there was a strong view that the Town Council could not justify putting further strain on its reserves and agree to the request.”

When asked whether it would reconsider the funding decision, a spokeswoman from the council refused to comment and called the question “unnecessary”.