Hastings Bonfire Costume
East Hill Beacon
Another of the "traditions" of Hastings Borough Bonfire Society is the lighting of the East Hill beacon on the night of Hastings Bonfire. It has been lit for each of the bonfire nights since 1995.
The plaque on the wooden post supporting the fire basket reads "This beacon was lit by the Royal British Legion Hastings Branch & Womens Section in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of VE Day 8th May 1995", the year that HBBS was formed and staged its first event in Hastings. The top of the wooden post supporting the basket was burnt on the night of Trafalgar Day on Friday 21st October 2005 after being lit to celebrate Trafalgar Day causing the fire basket to be on the ground in the morning. A replacement steel collar over the wooden post has proved effective to prevent ignition of the post since the new fitting was installed. [Website update needed: maybe this is old information now and needs updating?! When was the last 'incident'?]
The current procedure adopted by HBBS on the night of Hastings bonfire is for the beacon to be lit at 7pm and a group of Hastings Runners descend the steps with with lighted torches, where they are used to light the torches of the procession that is scheduled to start at 7.15pm.
In 2012 the beacon on the East Hill was also lit by HBBS on 4th June to celebrate Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen and on the night of Hastings Bonfire on 13th October 2012, and we're already looking forward to the country's beacon lighting in June 2022 for Her Majesty again.
The America Ground Declaration
The Sussex Bonfire Tradition is strong on its observance of Remembrance societies lay wreaths at their war memorials, some have burning poppies, crosses or words. In Hastings the society stops to mark the loss of life in the War at Swan Terrace and has poppies on the beach site. However, we are lucky to have the Cyril and Lilian Bishop lifeboat which also went onto be a Dunkirk veteran. This little boat has actively saved the lives of those at sea and across the water and so in the procession at the top of All Saints Street, Hastings, leads the salute in recognition of the service that this boat and its personnel have given.