Bonfire and Fireworks
Held each year in celebration of
this infamous former resident of York, Stillington bonfire has been organised
and run by residents for more than 30 years. The event is widely recognised to
be one of the best organised public bonfires in the area. The whole process
starts early in the Autumn, when the organising committee gather to plan the
event, and on the day, there is an organised collection of combustible material
from around the village. Building the fire and setting up the field sees a hive
of activity throughout the village. The evening commences with a torch-lit
procession from the Village Hall to the bonfire, headed by the Guy and the sound
of marching music. The fire is lit, the food is served and a spectacular display
of fireworks rounds off a wonderful day, weather gods permitting. New residents
are most welcome to come and join in any aspect of this most enjoyable event.
Contact: Andy Hart on 01347
810598 or Graham Cookman on 01347 810047 or Steve Gall on 01347 810374
2018 Bonfire Saturday November 3
Hot Food Fairground Music Great Fireworks
6.45pm Procession leaves Village Hall
Bonfire lit when procession arrives at field.
7.30pm Fireworks Start
Car Parking - please enter from York Road before 6.45pm
Please note that York Road will
be closed to traffic
between 6.45pm and 7.15pm
for the procession
Tickets (available in advance from
Stillington Post Office from Saturday 20 October):
Adults £4 Children £1
Children free - tickets not required
Admission on the night:
Car Parking and admission on the night:
All children free
2017 - Stillington News Report
I walked past the bonfire field towards the
end of October and saw that there were still potatoes to be lifted.
This is going to be interesting, I
The wet weather didn't help and when I
arrived to help with preparations on the day, the field seemed to me
to be something of a quagmire.
The more experienced "veterans" of
bonfire preparations were more relaxed and the general consensus was
that it would be alright, although there was a little bit of
discussion about how we would manage to remove cars from the parking
area if they became bogged down.
In the event, there was absolutely no
Last year, I had thought
that the bonfire and firework display were excellent.
Could this year's event match it,
particularly, when I had heard about
the rising cost of fireworks and the increase in the cost of
I really should be more optimistic
because it was brilliant; even better than last year in the opinion
of quite a few people.
The parade led by the ageing Land Rover
was even longer than last year;
the bonfire was enormous and when it
was lit, it gave off a tremendous heat and must have been visible
from miles around; the firework display was spectacular and made
even better because of the way it seemed to frame the Hunter's Moon;
and the excellent food was all consumed so that in the event only
drops of tea and coffee were left.
Of course, none of it
could have taken place without the work of a small army of
volunteers who made sure that the thousands who turned up on the
night could watch it in safety.
Enormous thanks need to go out to all
those who helped in whatever way.
In particular, however, we should thank
the farmers who co-operated with and supported the bonfire
preparations by making the field available and then, amongst many
other things, by providing the equipment necessary to collect
material from the village and to build the bonfire with the expert
use of a high loader.
So, we can now look
forward to next year's bonfire.
But, what will lead the parade as the
Land Rover is retired and will the bonfire be bigger and the
fireworks even better?
The answers will again depend in
large part on the volunteers.
Why don't you keep an eye out for
announcements in next year's Stillington News about how to become
involved as I can assure you that, if you do volunteer, you will
thoroughly enjoy the whole experience.
2016 - Stillington News Report
Stillington Bonfire - A Newcomer's view
coincided with us having lived in Stillington for exactly 6 months,
a period during which we have been made most welcome by so many
I had heard a great deal about
previous years' bonfires and fireworks displays but wasn't really
sure what to expect.
But having seen the bonfire grow in
size over the preceding weeks, I was expecting great things.
I wasn't disappointed.
In fact, the bonfire
and fireworks were everything you could ask for.
The fire was massive and the heat
intense - something which was much needed on such a cold night - and
the fireworks display was noisy and spectacular.
But what impressed me most was the
involvement of so many people: from the committee members who
organised the event so that it took place safely and without any
hiccups; to the very many volunteers who worked so hard to make the
event a success; to the hundreds who took part in or watched the
torchlight procession through the village; and to the thousand or so
who turned up to enjoy a great evening.
I thought the bonfire
was big when I walked past it through the woods early in November
but could not believe how it grew so quickly in the last couple of
The amount of combustible material
- from unwanted furniture to garden cuttings, including some fair
sized trees, fencing and even an old dog kennel and a rabbit hutch -
that was collected on the Friday and Saturday was amazing and the
two tractors and trailers had to make repeated trips to take the
material to the fire.
I enjoyed joining with those
volunteers who helped load the trailers and we were all well
rewarded by an unexpected break for coffee, scones and cupcakes -
very many thanks.
On the night, the
forecast rain kept off and so it was with a clear starry night that
we all enjoyed the event.
afterwards all I could hear as
people drifted away were positive comments about the fireworks
("really brilliant" and "even better than last year"), about the
food - the baked potatoes seemed to have gone down particularly well
- and about the general organisation with access and parking made so
And when it was all
over, the volunteers cracked on with dismantling the tent and other
equipment in another display of just getting on with a job that
needed doing .
In the morning there was very
little evidence that such a big event had taken place.
The fire was still burning but
there was remarkably little litter and just a few signs that needed
to be removed.
So, it is a very big
thank you to everybody involved.
I thoroughly enjoyed Stillington
Bonfire and Fireworks 2016 and look forward to another successful
event next year.
2015 - Stillington News Report
My second experience of
Stillington Fireworks Display confirmed what I already knew
after my first visit; this is the best bonfire and fireworks
display I’ve been to in years, if not ever!
I’m currently living in London,
where the congestion and urban setting mean you have to try
quite hard to ‘enjoy’ the experience, whilst fighting for your
square foot of space and trying not to think about how much it
cost. There aren’t many places that are still running great
community bonfire nights, and I love coming up to Stillington to
Rumour has it that this year was
at least one person’s 20th anniversary helping out, and the
continued success of the night is largely due to the hard work
of the committee and the volunteers that give up their time,
energy and resources to make it happen.
I’ve enjoyed “getting my hands
dirty” with the guys on the Saturday morning, loading up the
trailers with garden waste and contributions of varying types of
furniture, and so far consistently in torrential rain. It looked
like a local shop did fairly well in gardening glove sales that
“t’s great to see everybody
standing outside the pubs, looking out of their windows and
poking their heads out of the front door as the procession goes
by; there’s a rare sense of community in Stillington. The
fireworks themselves were well worth the wait, accompanied by a
reassuring series of “oohs” and “aahs”. And to top it all off,
there was a fine selection of food again this year with the new
addition of a beef stew which went down a treat. Looking forward
to next year!
2015 - Report from Great
Put family back in community
On Saturday evening I watched fireworks in Stillington, a few
miles north of York, such a wonderful occasion which brought
back memories of Bradwell some 40-odd years ago. Stillington, a
small Yorkshire village, has for over 30 years organised a
bonfire night and fireworks display to match the "big boys".
This was preceded by a torch- lit procession from the village
hall headed by the guy and accompanied by marching music through
the main street to a field some half a mile away and I with
family and friends joined this at The White Bear Inn to soak in
a glorious occasion. The fact that the field was wet and boggy
didn't matter. The baked .potatoes and hot soup were good, the
fire was immense and piled high, and the continuous firework
display brilliant. A really well organised affair by the village
Which brings me back to Bradwell in the 1970s when the guy was
loaded on a wagon at the community centre and dragged through
the village ahead of an entourage' of villagers, past the church
to a site within the grounds of St Nicholas House where a huge
bonfire awaited its notorious effigy. Where has it all-gone?
Where O where is the enthusiasm to get involved with activities
In those day there were three-day festivals, fetes, stage shows,
cycle events and treasure hunts. They were fun to volunteer for
and organise. The Queen's Silver Jubilee was an occasion to
remember with 30-odd village organisations getting together for
a great weekend of activity: For the Queen's Golden Jubilee
there was zilch!
It is so sad the village has grown so large it is no longer a
"family". It may be wishful thinking but perhaps someday soon,
somebody will come along to enthuse the community into putting
life back into Bradwell once more.
from the 2014 firework display
2014 - Stillington News Report
I had watched the pile of wood grow steadily in
the weeks leading up to 8th November, the day of this year’s
village bonfire. As the date approached, I found myself taking a
greater than usual interest in the weather forecasts, hoping
that this autumn’s unseasonably warm, dry weather would
continue, at least until the bonfire had died down, the food
tent taken down, and everything packed away ready for next year.
But it wasn’t to be: it rained heavily on the
Friday and the forecast didn’t look good. So, when I turned up
on the Saturday morning to help collect wood and the drizzle
arrived, it looked likely that we were heading for a damp, muddy
evening. It was possible that the bonfire might even have to be
cancelled. At the very least we expected the car park to become
a quagmire and that cars might have to be turned away.
Nevertheless, we got stuck into collecting the
old furniture, scrap wood and other material which had been left
out for us around the village, hoping that we’d be watching it
burn brightly in a few hours’ time. Meanwhile, an extra bale of
straw was spread at the entrance to the field and in kitchens
throughout the village potatoes were scrubbed ready to be put in
In the end we needn’t have worried: the rain
stopped in the late afternoon and by the time the procession set
off from the village hall the weather was almost perfect.
Already a good size even before the morning’s wood collection,
the bonfire was now huge. Soon it was blazing, surrounded by a
crowd which included a large number of excited children.
The sight reminded me of the anticipation felt
as a child when Bonfire Night approached.
At 7.30 precisely all eyes turned skywards as
the first fireworks exploded in a shower of multicoloured sparks
and the evocative smell of gunpowder began to mix with that of
smoke and damp grass. Thanks to the careful preparations and
precise timing of the team of firework lighters, the display was
magnificent and held everyone’s attention throughout, earning a
well earned round of applause after the last sparks died away.
As a relative newcomer to Stillington, I was
reminded again why the village is such a great place to live: it
is still a community where throughout the year people work
together to make things happen and bring its members together. A
small army of people contribute to the bonfire: the committee
which plans the event; the team which sets up the field; the car
park attendants; the firework lighters; the local farmers who
provide the field and the tractors and trailers to collect wood;
and those who prepare and serve the delicious baked potatoes and
soup without which (for many, including me) the occasion would
not be complete.
So thank you to all who contributed to another
enjoyable village event, and to those who supported it by
attending. Let’s hope that this support continues and the
village bonfire remains a key event on our calendar for years to
2013 - Stillington News Report
Remember, remember: the 2nd
Weeks in the planning, days in the construction, the final hours
approached as the evening of the 2nd
grew dark. Promise of a glorious bonfire with guy atop, baked potatoes
and soup to ward off the chill, and a sky alight with fire and
sparkle. But wait, what’s this? Evening approaches early today!
And then, with the final countdown to the bonfire procession
ticking by, the heavens opened in a tribute fit for King Lear
himself “Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow!” For a
short while, all involved await with bated breath. To venture
out would mean a soaking to the skin. Children and adults alike
peer from windows at the tumultuous storm, cars pull over as the
downpour rendered even driving a blind experience. Then, as
quickly as it started, the storm dissipates.
As the time draws towards 7.00, the fireworks are primed, soup
is bubbling, and the organ strikes a tune to celebrate its
release from a muddy field 10 minutes earlier. At the far end of
the village, the procession is gathering. Torches ablaze, they
wind their way towards the waiting bonfire, soaked but eager to
fulfil its purpose. At 19.30 the sky lights up with military
precision, this year sees the promotion to ‘firework lighter’
for select individuals eager to fulfil childhood ambitions. And
they are very excited. Flashes of light streak across the sky
from exploding rockets, with crashing booms shaking all around.
Roman candles sparkle and crackle as people cheer and peer up
into the night sky, trying not to burn fingers on hot soup and
potatoes. As the display culminates in a ferocious burst of
light and sky explosions, peace returns and only the roar of the
bonfire can be heard as the village moves contentedly on to home
A success for all concerned and a huge thank you from the whole
village to everyone who participated in making it such a
memorable evening. You are all what makes Stillington a special
place to be, and long may it be so.