Shoreham Bonfire Society

About Shoreham Bonfire Society

Every November, on the first Saturday after the 5th, the Shoreham Bonfire Society runs a Family Beach Bonfire and Fireworks display on Shoreham Beach, part of Shoreham-by-Sea in West Sussex. Shoreham Bonfire Society

The popular event is attended by 3-4000 people each year, a crowd made up of young and old… couples, families, pensioners!

It’s a great night, come along and enjoy the fun!

Find out more about the 2016 event »

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Community run, community funded

The Shoreham Bonfire Society is a collection of enthusiastic volunteers from the Shoreham area who give up some of their free time to run this popular community event.  The funding of the bonfire and fireworks night comes from the community via donations – without this support it simply could not happen.

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Shoreham Bonfire Society formed in 2009

Jonathan Marshall, now Chair of the Shoreham Bonfire Society, decided to revive the tradition of a bonfire on Shoreham beach in 2009. He formed the Shoreham Bonfire Society to begin the process of raising money and organising the first event in 2010.

Jonathan was joined by Stuart Lanham (who manages the website, marketing communications & sponsorship), members of the Shoreham Houseboat community (fund-raising, stewarding and fire minding in the early years), Tim Goldsack (responsible for the building of the Bonfire), Vicki Carter (Chief Steward for first 3 years) and many many more willing volunteers.

4 amazing years of success & growth

This Shoreham Bonfire Society team delivered a hugely successful family bonfire and fireworks night on the beach in 2010 and each year since.

The crowds have grown each year and it is now considered a fixture on the Shoreham social calendar. Thanks to the support of the community via donations the costs of running the event have been covered each year which have enabled the event to continue.

Literally blown away!

In 2014 Shoreham Bonfire Ltd was created to be a formal non profit making company with annual accounts. This was done to ensuring the proper management of the event including annual published accounts.

Sadly 2014 was the first event that had to be cancelled, due to strong inland winds that would have made the fireworks and bonfire dangerous to the guests and volunteers.

£2000 for charity and local community groups

We bounced back in 2015 with our most successful event to date. With a crowd approaching 4,000, we not only had a great event we also raised lots of money so that not only did we cover the costs of the event but also raised £2000 for charity and local community groups. Our bucket collection efforts were fantastically supported by the 3rd Shoreham Sea Scouts.


Some facts and figures 3,000 people attend the bonfire night10,000 leaflets distributed across Shoreham by SeaOver 10,000 unique web visitors in October

  • The 12th November 2016 will be our 7th Beach Family Bonfire and Fireworks night
  • The procession, bonfire and fireworks attract over 3,000 people each year, so over 16,000 and counting since we started!
  • We have achieved a family feel, attracting people from all across Shoreham Beach and Shoreham Town
  • Our website typically gets 10,000 'unique' visits in November
  • Our 2015 Facebook event page had over 2,000 engagements
  • We distribute 5-10,000 leaflets to households across Shoreham leading up to the event
  • We have a busy mailing list and active Facebook and Twitter pages
  • We are delighted that the event is regularly attended by Heart FM, as well as the local Coastguard and Fire Service teams (to raise their community profile)


A bit of history about bonfires on Shoreham Beach

Bonfires on the beach were not uncommon during November but towards the end of the 1990's this practice was banned as it became clear that these were not being managed properly and could lead to injuries (gas canisters were discovered under 1 unlit fire).

As a result the first ‘organised’ bonfire on the beach came about in the early 2000's when the Beach Dreams Bonfire was established by Fr Marcus of the Church of the Good Shepherd. However continued funding and support became an issue with no event in 2007, fireworks only event in 2008 and no event in 2009. Leading to the formation of Shoreham Bonfire Society in late 2009.


Sussex Bonfires Societies and our chosen date

There is a long tradtion of Sussex Bonfire Societies that run a series of bonfire festivals around the county from September to November. We follow some of the traditions but put our own Shoreham-by-Sea twist on them. Read more about them here: Sussex Bonfire Societies blog article

Our event is always held on the first Saturday AFTER the 5th, but not on the 5th. Ther is a lot of good reasons for this which you can read about in our blog: Why not on the 5th.


What happens

It’s a family event, so starting in the early evening there is a Bonfire procession starting from Beach Green and moving to the Bonfire site near the Church of the Good Shepherd.  In the last few years the local Coastguard Service have led the procession with the ‘loud’ support of the Beach Bateria Samba Band.

The bonfire is lit around 7pm which is followed by our firework display – about 12 minutes of high quality fireworks by a professional team.

Each year there is a kids tea cups ride and you can meet your local Coastguard and Fire Service teams.  In 2015 the Heart FM Angels were meeting and greeting visitors with a life-size cut out of Olly Murrs.

At the Bonfire site there is always a selection of catering, from burger to noodles, and hot/cold drinks available.

Following the fireworks our friends at Shoreham Allstars – young musicians – have their bands play on their mobile stage to entertain the crowd.

Find out more about the 2016 event »