Hastings Borough Bonfire Society Rules
We are part of a long tradition of Bonfire in Hastings and East Sussex. We are proud of this heritage and strive to maintain high standards. To this end we have definite expectations of our members.
Only members of this Society or members of other recognised societies officially invited, in writing by the Society, may walk with us. All members must be in one of the Society’s official recognised costumes.
Membership is not transferable. Only the member named on the membership form is allowed to wear their procession badge to show their current membership
Do not invite non-members (friends, family or children) to join in the procession. We are not responsible for people marching with us who are not members of the Society and they will be asked to leave the procession as they will be at risk
Whenever in a procession with the Society, we walk in orderly ranks of three (one on each side of the road and one in the middle). This presents the Society at its best, and allows space for easy movement of marshals, torch runners, and other officials
We keep a torch-and-arm-length distance from the person in front of us and next to us. Be aware of those in front of you as sometimes a procession may suddenly halt.
Officers and marshals will organise the forming of ranks in the procession, and maintain them throughout. If you ignore the instructions of a marshal you may be asked to leave the procession.
Flaming torches are an important and spectacular part of the procession. Torches are available at the beginning and specified points during the procession.
Your torch should be kept with you, and not handed on to anybody else. Under no circumstances must torches be given to members of the public
Only light up when instructed to do so
Once you have a lighted torch use it until it is spent
When a torch is spent or becoming dangerous discard it in the gutter for collection
Discard torches away from large numbers of spectators and parked cars
Avoid making mini bonfires [except where officers direct that after re-torching points in the case of severely wet weather and and damp torches being hard to light]
Torches should be held upright above head height in front of you. Unlit torches are carried downwards. Torches must not be put over shoulders or held out at angles. Be especially careful that there is a safe distance from your lit torch and members of the public. Torches must not be swung around, carried or moved about in such a way that they can cause damage to other members, spectators or buildings
Take care with torches near Society banners
Do not kick or play games with any lit torches or torch heads that are on the ground where there are ANY members of the public. Any torch or torch head that might cause a trip hazard should be carefully moved to a safe place such as the edge of the road with a boot
Hastings Borough Bonfire Society endorses the Sussex Bonfire Council recommendation that children under ten years of age should not use torches. Society officials will not issue torches to such children. Torches given to children by their parent or other responsible adult will be required to be surrendered to an official of the Society or other authorised individuals
• Under no circumstances must anybody go ANYWHERE near the net sheds or the Cyril and Lilian Bishop with a torch, whether lighted or not! Offenders will be dealt with promptly
• At the end of the procession we throw our torches onto the fire together. Do not throw your torch onto the fire until signaled to do so, normally after the Bonfire Chant
Nobody is to enter the fire site at any time without the express permission of the Captain of the Fire Site
The firework area is a completely restricted area with no access. Only authorised personnel enter, with the permission of the Captain of Fireworks (Renegade Pyrotechnics)
STAY AWAY from any of the display fireworks, set pieces or effigy which will be protected by barriers / orange fencing
Do not climb over, cross, break down or open up any barriers or fencing
After the main event the bonfire is barriered off and only members of the Society may gain access. Do not invite non-members into the restricted area.
The discharge of fireworks in a public place is a criminal offence
The Society cannot be held responsible for any arrest, prosecution or any insurance or similar claim against any member who chooses to use fireworks incorrectly or illegally
The Society does not accept the throwing or misuse of fireworks in any circumstances
All projectiles are banned except as part of an organised display
Members of Hastings Borough Bonfire Society are not insured to throw ‘bangers’ or ‘rookies’. Many societies ban them though some societies allow these in designated private firework areas. Any HBBS member throwing ‘rookies’ / ‘bangers’ will be personally liable for any accident or insurance claim that may arise from their actions. The Sussex Bonfire Council do not permit any “bangers” larger than a “rookie”, Spanish number two, or small Chinese
Juniors – under 18 year olds
Young people are welcome as they are our future
All children are the responsibility of the member, with designated parental responsibility, as named on the membership form.
The designated adult member must accompany the junior at all times.
Designated adults and juniors must be in society costume.
The adult member is totally responsible for the well-being and behaviour of the child/children.
The adult member may be appropriately disciplined if the child behaves in a manner that could be dangerous or bring the Society into disrepute
Non-members may not accompany juniors.
Bands, Drummers and Dancers
Any bands or dancers in the procession are there at the request of the Society to make our event more colourful and interesting for the public. Musical instruments and uniforms are expensive
Do not scorch uniforms or instruments.
Do not pass too close to bands, or pass through their ranks
Society members found harassing bands will be asked to leave the procession and will be subject to discipline by the Society.
Trained first aiders (St John Ambulance) will be in attendance along with marshals and members of the emergency services who should be made aware if you require medical attention. The Tri-arg medical centre is located at the west end of George Street.
The emergency services are there to help us put on a safe and well organised event as well as to protect us and members of the public. The directions of the emergency services must be followed, even if this deviates from our original plans. It is the job of the officers of the Society to liaise with all the emergency services and make any decisions that need to be made. Please comply with these decisions/directions.
Out-meetings and other Events
You are fully expected to behave in the same way at other events, to which the Society has been invited, as we would expect people to behave when visiting us. The above rules still apply. Remember you are representing the Society and our town.
Officers, senior members of the Society and those appointed as Procession Marshals have the full authority of the Society to ensure the safety of all members, participant s and the public; as well as to uphold the Society’s good reputation. All members need to follow their instructions. Those members behaving inappropriately may be asked to leave the procession or event.
The society meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 8pm at The White Rock Hotel.
Members have an opportunity to socialise and enjoy themselves.
The Chair, Secretary and Treasurer report on their areas for the previous month.
The Directors and Trustees, captains share updates, if any.
Details of forthcoming events are shared.
Events and occasions are celebrated.
To keep meetings relevant any AOB should be given the Chair or secretary by email or in writing before the meeting begins.
The meeting ends with The Chant.
An annual meeting is held once each year to ratify the accounts and vote for the trustees, directors,
membership secretary and captains. Votes may also take place on proposed changes to the constitution.
Complaints and Problems
It is important to remember that, as a society, we have a range of different backgrounds and skills. Members may have various challenges in their life that affects them. We aim to sort all problems in an informal and respectful way.
All members must follow these steps if they have a complaint, problem or are unhappy about something. It is not appropriate or respectful to openly discuss matters concerning individual or small groups of members at Members’ Meetings
1. Speak informally to the member concerned. You might choose to ask another member to support you
2. If your issue is unresolved: Speak to the relevant Captain / Membership Secretary / Health & Safety Officer / vice chair
3. If your issue is unresolved: Speak to a member of the ‘Top Table’ (Chair / Secretary / Treasurer)
4. If your issue is unresolved or if it concerns a member of the ‘Top Table’ (Chair / Secretary / Treasurer) write to the Directors and Trustees of the Society c/o the registered address at the bottom of this page.
Misconduct and Bringing the Society into Disrepute
HBBS welcomes everyone and operates an inclusive policy and expects tolerance to all
Members must obey the instructions of a Captain or officer of the Society or be subject to discipline by the Society.
Anybody disobeying Society rules will be asked to leave the event where the problem occurred and will be subject to discipline by the Society
Any Captain or Officer of the Society may ask a member to leave an event if they feel the member is behaving in an unsafe or unreasonable manner. The member will be subject to the discipline procedure.
Naming and shaming will not be tolerated. Members who act with intolerance or a lack of respect may be subject to the discipline procedure.
The Discipline Procedure is dealt with in writing by the Directors and Trustees of the Society
• Expelled/suspended members have no right to appeal and any unused membership fee will be forfeited.
• Members of the Sussex Bonfire Council have agreed that anybody asked to leave any member society will not be welcome to join any other.
• A general update on the outcomes of disciplinary procedures may be given at a members meeting, but confidentiality will be respected.
HBBS Rules Nov 2019 Page | 3 HBBS LTD Registered in England & Wales. No: 06277886 Registered office: Jackson Hall, Portland Place, Hastings.