Fireworks night is magicfor kids but not for pets

Is there anything more magical than seeing a little one's face light up with joy as they watch streams of colour cascading from exploding fireworks?

Thursday, 1st November 2018, 6:00 pm
Fireworks - photo by Pixabay.

No matter how old you are Bonfire Night will always release your inner child as pyrotechnics crackle, fizz and bang sparking shivers of excitement.

Who can resist using a sparkler to write their name in the dark or scoffing their body weight in bonfire toffee or parkin?

But not everyone is a fan of Bonfire Night. Pet owners may choose to batten down the hatches and comfort their quivering dog or cat in their own home rather than joining the hordes of families heading for an organised fireworks display.

Elderly people can be terrified by the noise of fireworks. Years ago I was sitting at home on Bonfire Night when I heard a pyrotechnic which sounded so loud that I thought there had been an explosion. That couldn’t be classed as fun for people like my mum who lived through the Second World War.

Legislation in the ensuing years has put paid to excessively loud fireworks as part of a raft of measures to protect the public and four-legged friends.

But how well briefed are you on the law?

Do you know that fireworks should only be let off between 7am and 11pm apart from on Bonfire Night when there’s an extension until midnight and on New Year’s Eve when the cut-off point is 1am?

It’s against the law to set off fireworks, including sparklers, in the street or public place. And using or buying fireworks illegally can land you with a £5,000 fine or a jail sentence.

The laws governing firework sales have tightened up a lot since I was a teenager in the Seventies. At 16, I could buy a box of mini-rockets, bangers and firecrackers - nowadays a buyer must be at least 18 and fireworks from my teenage years have long been outlawed.

During my childhood requesting Penny for a Guy was an annual tradition. Pushing a home-made scarecrow in a wheelbarrow, we’d knock on doors asking for money. The Guy Fawkes’ figure was then burned on the village bonfire.

This month similar effigies will be incinerated on bonfires across Derbyshire, a county which spawned two of Guy Fawkes’ gunpowder plot collaborators - Staveley rector’s son Robert Keyes and Heanor-born priest Henry Garnet.