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Rotary Club of Forres cancels Grant Park bonfire and firework display

By Garry McCartney

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Fireworks at Cluny Hill during t5he last event in 2019.
Fireworks at Cluny Hill during t5he last event in 2019.

ONE of the town's most popular annual events has been cancelled for the second year running.

Rotary Club of Forres has announced that November's bonfire and fireworks display at Grant Park has had to be postponed in light of recent coronavirus legislation.

In a joint press release with Rotary Club of Elgin, which has also cancelled their event, a spokesman said: "The need to restrict access to the parks and the procedures required to check vaccine passports are just too expensive and complex for either club to implement safely.

"We have looked closely at the options, and discussed the issue with Moray Council but there simply isn’t a way for us to go ahead."

Forres Rotary fireworks team leader, Carlo Miele, admitted both clubs are bitterly disappointed.

He explained: "We would have needed to erect Heras fencing around the entire park; to have used QR code readers to check attendees had covid vaccinations; have had to take part of the fencing down during the display to create emergency exits; and have had to floodlight the park to ensure safety. This would all have cost several thousands of pounds for what is a free event. We just don't have the funds for that."

Carlo believes it made more sense to cancel now rather than invest more time and money in planning around evolving legislation.

He said: "We've invested numerous hours already for this year ... and folk's safety must come first.

"We may have faced unwanted scenarios like turning away un-vaccinated members of families after they'd queued to get in. And there would have been the possibility that folk would be more inclined to watch from elsewhere and not contribute to the collection at the park afterwards."

Every year the Rotary pays for the display using funds raised from bucket collections made during the previous year's event.

"We have funds for the next one," said Carlo, "but not for all the extras that would be required at the current moment.

"We buy our pyrotechnics from Fireworx Scotland in Inverurie. Thankfully they've agreed to rollover our deposit again for next year. Mark Copeland from the company said Forres is the best location for setting off their products so he's gutted it's not happening again too."

Both clubs hope to be able to bring the popular events back in 2022.

Carlo added: "Rotary Club of Forres are still doing our fundraising quiz night in November, though it may be the last."

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