Past Events

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Silchester Bonfire Nights

Bonfire Night 2018

Jon Saltmarsh who led this year’s event for us writes, “Saturday 3rd December dawned dry but windy and at 11am precisely a team of volunteers arrived at the Silchester House paddock to prepare for this year’s firework display and bonfire. By 4pm they had built an enormous bonfire, complete with a Guy provided by the brownies, prepared the firework launch area, set up catering, first aid and entrance tents and wired the grounds with lighting. We were ready to go.

Around 1300 people attended this year’s fantastic, family friendly, fireworks event. As ever the pumpkin carving competition was hard fought with 10 excellent entries. We are very grateful to our judge, Reverend Rob Young, for rising to the challenge and selecting three worthy winners

1st place pumpkin -              Harry Savill from Pamber Heath

2nd place pumpkin -             Freddie Savill from Pamber Heath

3rd place pumpkin -             Abby Faulkener from Aldermaston

Congratulations to all three

With Hott Mess providing a hog roast, burger and hot dog stall and strong demand for mulled wine and cider from the drinks tent the crowd was well looked after while they waited for the main event. The bonfire was lit on the stroke of 7pm and within minutes had grown into a roaring inferno. Half an hour later, everyone was treated to a spectacular firework display.

Silchester bonfire and fireworks is organised by the Silchester Association and raises money to provide financial support for Silchester based organisations and events. The event couldn’t go ahead without a huge number of volunteers who give up their time to plan, prepare, deliver and clear up again afterwardsA massive thank you to all of you (you know who you are) for your support and hard work. Also many thanks to Silchester House for letting us use their grounds and managing to fit our preparations in around a number of weddings taking place at the house.

 Many thanks to Jon, members of the SA Committee, Bonfire Subcommittee and all volunteers who, through their generosity of giving their time, effort and enthusiasm, make this event possible. The event may run for 2.5 hours but it takes weeks of hard work both before and after the event to make it happen and this year I’m not holding back to single out David Westwood for his outstanding contribution. This could be the last Silchester Bonfire and David has been there planning, setting out electrics, helping with equipment transport and setting up, getting soaking wet and clearing up on the Sunday for over twenty five years and in the last four years has had the Treasury and Insurance responsibilities as well. Thank you David, you are a Silchester Association hero

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Photos by Pete Hughes. More pictures can be seen at the Silchester Life website


Bonfire Night 2017

Once again we were able to hold our annual bonfire night on the actual weekend of Guy Fawkes Night (even if a day early!).

After a very wet Friday night, the team were very glad that most of the set up had been done on the Friday but by midday the skies were clearing and by evening we had a starry sky with a full moon and very little wind - perfect weather for a bonfire! In spite of the rather wet wood, the bonfire team had the fire alight within a few minutes and it provided some very welcome warmth on the rather chilly night.

We had quite a few new design fireworks this year to challenge our fireworks team but they did a fantastic job of giving us 20 minutes of stunning explosive artwork in the sky.

The pumpkin competition was well supported this year and was judged by SA Chairman, Sara Westwood. The final winner was a team effort from Ella Newborough, Beth Egglesfield, Josie Keen and Evelyn Tester. Second prize went to Lili Szilagyi and third to Marcell Csayni

pumpkin winners

Nearly 1400 people came out to watch the show.

The Silchester Association would like to thank everyone who helped in any way but especially to Nick Robey and his fireworks team, Chris Lee and the bonfire builders, Sarah Roper and her band of caterers in the drinks tent, Paul Hearn for leading the marshalling team and David Westwood and Andy Hartley for providing all the electrics for the event. Well done to Simon Brewin for organising this very popular village event and for stepping in as leader and enabling it to go ahead. 

Photos of the event can be viewed at

All photos by Pete Hughes

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Bonfire Night 2016

The 5th of November fell on a Saturday this year so we had the rare opportunity of holding our annual fireworks display on actual Guy Fawkes Night.

As there was a wedding on at Silchester House on the Saturday, we tried to finish most of the set-up work the day before. As seems to be normal for bonfire set-up, we spent Friday morning putting up gazebos in the rain, watching the field turn to mud and wondering whether we would be able to even light the bonfire. However by Saturday the clouds had lifted and we had a beautiful clear sky – perfect conditions for fireworks. Sixteen hundred people turned out to watch and, though a few people were caught out by the sudden drop in temperature and wished they had put on a few more layers, the area around the bonfire was cosy enough. Steve & Irene Spillane were called on to do the ceremonial lighting of the bonfire and the spookily realistic guy was soon burning brightly. The pumpkin carving competition was well supported this year and congratulations to the winners – Beth Egglesfield and Josie Keen and also to the runners-up – Marti Hukelova, Sam Baldock and Olivia Aldridge.

As always we owe a huge vote of thanks to all the villagers who help to make this night such an amazing event in Silchester, particularly to Paul Baker who stood in once again to pull the whole event together. He has put a fantastic support team in place but we desperately need someone to come forward to take the lead next year as Paul has now definitely retired from this position so sadly, unless we get a new leader, this event is unlikely to happen next year.