Picture perfect

It was a smokin’ hot event and there are some absolutely brilliant photos you can buy to remind yourself of our brilliant Big Night.

Our online photo gallery is chocka with stunning images of Bonfire from our crew of photographers.

Definitely worth buying as a percentage of the purchase price goes to Society funds (helps raise funds for next year) and the gallery is growing every time. A big shout out goes to all our photographic wizards (you can see who took each shot by their initials on each photo or copyright across the image).

Big thanks go to: EH – Emma Howard; HW – Hugh Wilton; IC – Ian Cumming; JM – James McCauley; NP – Nigel Powell; WP – Wilf Power; WR – Willie Robb.

Please do note that photos taken of SBS members and/or with their family at SBS events, may be stored on our gallery and used in our membership communications, and on our social media channels, including Twitter, Instagram and our website.

If you do not wish your photo(s) to be used in this manner, please contact communications@southoverbs.com with further details and a copy of the image (s) concerned.

Photo copyright Emma Howard

Thank you and good night

Thanks to everyone who bought a firesite ticket; coughed up for our action-packed programme; and said a Bonfire prayer with us at the very end of the night.

Thanks to our members who make our Society so fantastic to be a part of.

Thanks to our countless volunteers who put it all together – and it does actually take 364 days to do it (and we always need more Society members to lend a hand).

We are now knackered. And that’s official.

Advance to 2022!


Amen to this

Canines and cassocks do mix. Clergy from all the Lewes Bonfire Societies gathered to sip port and pontif-icate about the Fifth at the Priory Ruins before processing to The King’s Head for the Bishops’ Breakfast – hosted this year by our Archbishop, the lovely Matt.

Our Cluniac Monks took our Bell Cart out for the first time since 2019; and much avocado on toast was consumed; alongside this masterpiece of a cake, made specially for the occasion by our very own Ian Cumming and possibly without many people realising he is a Great British Bake-Off finalist, no less!!

Photos also by Ian.


Final Badge Night 2021

Our final (and often very busy) Badge Night is on Thursday (Nov 4), 7pm-9pm, at our HQ The King’s Head. Even if you are all sorted, it’s a great event and the spirit of Bonfire (not to mention, a number of spirits of the alcoholic variety) abound.

We’ve restocked our merchandise and clothing stalls so all those last-minute purchases can be made (cash only) and this is your last chance to renew your membership online in advance by following this link. If you haven’t done so already, please bring your red plastic SBS Membership Card(s) with you to our final Badge Night as we need to update them all with a 2021 sticker.

All Southover Bonfire Society members need both your 2021 updated Membership Card and 2021 Badge with you in order to process on Friday (Nov 5). Marshals are checking and you will be asked to leave the procession if you don’t have both of these with you. You will also be denied access to the fire site and fireworks. Any queries, please contact membership@southoverbs.com

Having a cracking night out. Photo courtesy of Ian Cumming 2019

Our A-Z of Bonfire

A is for Advance!! Southover’s clarion call.

B is for Bonfire! What else would it stand for? Oh, and Buccaneers, our 2nd Pioneers.

C is for cake (wot fireworks come from, innit).

D is for discipline – epitomised by the superb ranks of three in which our members process. (Well, we try!)

E is for excitement. It’s year round and not just reserved for the Fifth.

F is for fireworks; the Fifth List – which Emma cracks her whip to complete; and our Firesite Force led by Captain Jim.

G is for gorgeous, lovely, members of Southover Bonfire Society (now pay your subscriptions)

H is for hessian – our Waitrose-quality version is woven by elves and unicorns (amazing what they can do with their horns). It’s also for Hedge Fund – local rumour is that most SBS-ers work in finance. Well, if we did, we wouldn’t have to run so many fabulous fund raising events!

I is for ideas, and plenty of them, so that our Tab Team and our Small Builds Team can create amazing masterpieces. Which we then blow up on the night. (Doh)

J is for jaunts. We have a few of these in our Society. Some call them outmeetings and they’re a very special part of the Bonfire experience.

K is for kerosene – our Bonfire version of Chanel No 5 – in which we lovingly dip our 3,500 torches every year. Dip, dip hooray to Nick the Knife and his gang.

L is for love, the love we have for Bonfire. It’s a smokin’ hot way to get some exercise.

M is for merchandise – lots of lovely stock with all sorts of goodies and managed superbly by our Captain of Merch Shireen. Also for those naughty monks – the Cluniac priory ones of Lewes and our 1st Pioneers.

N is for nuns – we’ve introduced Nun of the Above and Nun Such plus their sisters to bring holy disorder to our Cluniac ranks.

O is for ‘Oh I can’t believe you actually make your own torches and don’t rent them from East Sussex County Council for the night’. (Yes, someone did say that in 2011!)

P is for pyro mania – the energy fizzing through the crew bringing our aerial display spectacularly to life. Nuff said!

Q is for Quartermaster – our lovely Bill ‘don’t mess with my bits and bobs in the stores’ Barber.

R is for rum – elixir of the gods and a fab ingredient in the hip flasks of Lewes.

S is for smugglers – the stripey crew that every Bonfire Society has and loves. Truly loves. Truly…loves.

T is for torchmaking – but these aren’t just any torches, they’re SBS torches, notched and whipped up in hand cut hessian, with bespoke wire twisting, then dipped in magical kero so they burn, baby, burn. Thanks to all the SBS-ers who turn up on Sundays to join the Torchmaking Tornados.

U is for U, the public, who buy our Bonfire programme and fire site tickets and help us keep it all alight.

V is for volunteers – without whom we wouldn’t be able to thrive as a Society. It’s also for vajazelling – a wonderful technique used to overly decorate one’s costume. (Allegedly)

W is for Wilson, our Society mascot, a kero-loving, torch-throwing canine, whose ‘Ruff Guide to Bonfire’ is a sell-out on Amazon.

X is what marks the spot where we have our bonfire in the Convent Field.

Y is for ‘Y not?’ A good response to any new member who wonders if they should join one Pioneer group or all of them.

Z is for the ZZZZs we partake of. But only once the Fifth is over!


2nd Badge Night and hell of a way to spend the evening

Be afraid, our 2nd Badge Night is on Halloween, this Sunday (October 31), 6pm-8pm, at our HQ The King’s Head, coinciding spooktacularly with some other festival.

So why not do both? So all you Southover Bonfire Society members, go out on your trick or treating, then pop on down for some Bonfire Banter, to pick up your Badge, buy some lovely merchandise from Shireen (new fleeces, masks and lots more) and upgrade your costume. If anyone still wants to clothes swap, donate or sell, please contact Fiona on 07775 654744. It’s cash only for merch and costume.

(PS: calling all SBS captains, lieutenants, marshals, you are meeting at The King’s Head from 4.30pm-5.30pm with our Commander in Chief).

We would also seriously suggest you do a lateral flow test before you turn up and definitely don’t come along if you’ve got Covid or anything cold-like.

Don’t forget you do need to have renewed your membership online in advance of Badge Nights. To renew your membership, follow this link: https://membermojo.co.uk/southoverbs/yourmembership

Please also remember to bring your red plastic SBS Membership Card(s) with you to Badge Nights as we need to update them all with a 2021 sticker.

You need both your 2021 updated Membership Card and 2021 Badge with you in order to process on November 5. Marshals are checking and you will be asked to leave the procession if you don’t have both of these with you.

You will also be denied access to the firesite and fireworks. Any queries, please contact membership@southoverbs.com


Bishops do brekkie

Pope Clement VI famously said that his papal predecessors “did not know how to be pope,” and hosted lavish meals where only he was allowed to eat with a knife, to safeguard against violence breaking out.

Happily, and much, much, much further down the clerical food chain, our wonderful SBS Archbishop Matt is playing holy host to the Bonfire Societies’ Bishops’ Breakfast next Thursday (November 4), and there will be cutlery available too.

This traditional gathering – usually very merry thanks to plenty of Harveys with their Eggs Benedict (it is Lewes after all) – will take place at our HQ The King’s Head, with pre sipping-of-Port action in the Priory Ruins.

Panic not if you see a lot of peeps in cassocks holding croziers and processing around the Shire pontif-icating that day. Saints preserve us and all that. (Whether they will be able to spread Saints Preserve on their croissants remains to be seen, particularly after a few pints). But miracles can happen, apparently.

Even in Lewes.

Photo courtesy of Ian Cumming.


Light up the skies

It’s been a long gap since we last had the privilege of watching our talented Pyro Team’s display.

Here’s a flavour of our show in 2019. Footage courtesy of Max Broughton.

Our firesite tickets at £10 each are on sale at the Tourist Information Office, The Swan, The Kings Head and St Pancras Stores.


Grab your firesite tickets

Our firesite tickets, priced at £10 each, are on sale at outlets across Lewes. Snap yours up from the Tourist Information Centre, The King’s Head, The Swan, and St Pancras Stores so you can see our firework display at the Convent Field on November 5.

You can also pick up our programme at the same venues which includes our procession routes for Bonfire Night.

If you are a paid up member of SBS, you get free access to the firesite on the night as long as you have your up to date Membership Card and 2021 Badge with you.