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'Freeloaders' cost charity thousands

Worcester Editorial 8th Nov, 2013 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

PEOPLE refusing to pay to watch one of the city’s fund-raising fireworks displays has left a charitable Worcester organisation thousands of pounds down on expected revenue.

Worcester Round Table held its annual bonfire night on Saturday (November 2), at Pitchcroft, and put on a spectacular fireworks display, musical performances and a 65ft screen to showcase the work they do.

Despite an increase in the amount of people enjoying the display, spectators chose to watch from beyond the turnstiles or by-pass them altogether and gain access over the fences, organisers have claimed.

The organisation, which donates funds to projects within the local community, estimate they have lost out on about £5,000 because people kept the money in their pockets.

Paul Valentine, Worcester Round Table vice-chairman, said: “This year’s event struggled to break even, as each year the number of onlookers who stand outside of the race course perimeter increases.

“Onlookers who decide not to support the event are directly impacting whether the bonfire night will continue in the future. We estimate crowds standing on the perimeters represented approximately £5,000 of lost revenue.

“Some volunteers who approached people watching the show for free, received abuse when they asked for a contribution to the collection.”

Greg Jones, Worcester Round Table member, said: “Maybe people believe the bonfire is organised by the local council or a private company, but it isn’t.

“All the proceeds from the Worcester Round Table Bonfire Night go to help local individuals and community projects.

“The Worcester Round Table Bonfire Night has been held at Pitchcroft for more than 25 years, this years event may be the last unless we get better support.”

To date, the Round Table have helped many local projects; replacing hundreds of pounds of play equipment at The Bonterre Project, donating nearly £5,000 to help a St Pauls Hostel initiative, and doing all they can to improve the lives of disadvantaged people in Worcestershire.

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