Winchester’s annual fireworks celebrations went off with a bang last weekend.
More than 20,000 people flocked to the city to see the showpiece event at North Walls Recreation Ground.
Organisers Winchester Round Table promised the 54th annual event would be bigger and better than ever before and they did not disappoint.
It featured more fireworks and a bigger bonfire than previous years plus music for the first time in five years.
There was so much magic in the air it fully justified using the themes from the Harry Potter and Star Wars films.
Visitors were asked to give generously with proceeds from the event going to several groups and charities like Winnall Rock School and the Joe Glover Trust.
The cost of the event also went up with Round Table spending £38,000, a slight increase on the previous year due to more fireworks and a larger bonfire.
Indeed, the majestic flame in the middle of the park was made from two miles of fencing, 140 tonnes of wooden pallets and 7,000 nails.
This year’s event also featured more volunteers than ever before with 275 people making sure things ran smoothly.
Round Table bonfire committee chairman Glen Taylor said: “It’s a real privilege to be able to run this event.
We are victims of our own success as we needed a lot more security and volunteers to make sure it’s a pleasurable experience.
“I would love to raise £35,000 for charity this year, so to clear out costs as well we are targeting around £70,000 and are hoping everyone gives generously.”
Last year Round Table come under some criticism for jockeying people for donations too much and current Round Table chairman Toby Randle owned up to the problem.
He said: “I was the MC last year and I was asking people for £50 notes. It was my first time on the mic and I probably went a bit too far but it’s a free event and we want to do our part for charity.
“The most important thing though is that this is a community event and is open to all no matter who you are.
“It’s great to see this event growing and also Round Table growing as we have more members this year. We are bigger and better than we ever have been.”
The event was sponsored by several Winchester companies including Jeremy France Jewellers and estate agent Belgarum.