Fancy starting Blackheath fireworks? You could for a fiver…

There are two events which make living in this part of London like no other. Both of them involve big crowds and take place on Blackheath. One is the London Marathon, the other is Blackheath fireworks. This year’s event is less than three weeks away – it’s on 2 November at 8pm.

Of course, the continuation of the Blackheath fireworks display is no thanks to Greenwich Council, which yanked its £37,000 funding away from the event three years ago, leaving Lewisham Council in the lurch.

Lewisham could have scrapped the event, which attracts up to 100,000 people, or moved it to another open space. But to its credit, it’s continued.

Back in 2010, deputy leader Peter Brooks claimed Greenwich Council couldn’t afford it, a whopper so big it could be seen from space.

This poverty didn’t stop the council handing over £20,000 towards the cost of fireworks to help promote a private company, Sail Royal Greenwich, back in August, according to an answer given under the Freedom of Information Act. And last year, it blew £114,000 on fireworks and other public events to mark royal borough status. Three years on, the decision still rankles, and the real reason for pulling out has never been given.

So ever since then, Lewisham Council’s shouldered the responsibility of raising the cash for the event on its own – even if the firing site’s been outside its borders. The event’s always had some kind of sponsorship, but Lewisham has tried to come up with fundraising wheezes that make the community feel part of the event – something its self-styled “royal borough” neighbour singularly fails to do.

This year’s is simple. Pay a fiver, and you’ll get put into a prize draw where you can win the chance to press the plunger to start the display, along with getting a behind-the-scenes look at how it’s all done. You can enter as many times as you like, and it doesn’t matter where you live.

Of course, it’d be GREAT if someone from this side of the border won the prize – so go on, stick a fiver in and remind our neighbours we’re not all hypocritical miseries over here.


  1. I’ve sent my fiver although, as you know, I can hardly afford it! If I win I’ll get my grandchildren to do it if they’ll let them.

  2. Lewisham aint perfect by a long way, but it campaigned for its hospital and keeps on with the fireworks. What does Greenwich do? It has a way over the top Mayor Making bash and hosts events that are unpopular, and as highlighted in the above gives to a private company for their whizz bangs and got up itself with its royal status. And was very quiet about health services until Lewisham had done the work. Rest my case.

  3. As a schoolboy the history master made his annual joke around now that Guy Fawkes was thre only man to enter politics with an honest agenda. As the time the meaning sort of passed me by. Older, wiser and living in Greenwich I get it.

  4. A fiver sounds very little but there are a lot of people out here struggling to pay the bills. If its a choice between food for the kids and a fiver for fireworks then it might as well be a hundred to enter the draw. It seems awful that Greenwich finds the money for any vanity scheme it comes up with but pulls the plug on something a lot of its council tax payers and their families enjoy.

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