Paying the Piper (or the Hornblower)
There’s no doubt they look impressive – and I see from Mike Purdy’s shots here that my suggestion of going to the opposite side of the river and seeing the fireworks from Island gardens with the ORNC in the background rewards with something special.
I’m a sucker for fireworks especially with a backdrop like that, and with tall ships gliding past and honking their horns at the end of the show. But I was rather shocked by something Franklin discovered yesterday.
I assumed that the private company operating the tall ships were paying for this as part of the package to entertain their well-heeled passengers and corporate customers, who are coughing up a fair sum for the experience and getting the ringside seats for the shindig.
But no – this, apparently, is being paid for by Greenwich Council:
“Fireworks funded as part of the Royal Greenwich festival, a wide prog of events organised by Royal Borough.”
Just in case you are new to the area or have been asleep for the past three (or is it four…?) years, this is the same council who reneged on an agreeement with Lewisham council to stump up a few thousand to pay for the hugely popular Blackheath fireworks. Claiming poverty, they left Lewisham holding the baby, having to pay for the whole thing and making everyone in this borough look really shabby.
Lewisham survived by rattling buckets at the event and the embarrassed burghers of Greenwich chucked in a fiver or two – but it should not have happened. The next year and, I assume this year too, Greenwich once again refused to share the fireworks display after years of co-operation. I believe Lewisham have again bravely picked up the baton (or sparkler…) and all power to their twinkling elbows.
So – Greenwich council won’t join with their neighbour to provide entertainment for hundreds of thousands at a cost of, if I recall, about thirty grand, but WILL pay for FIVE NIGHTS of fireworks in Greenwich and Woolwich for a private hire company. I only hope the kickbacks are worth it…
In the meanwhile, what to do? Well, apart from giving Greenwich merry hell about not honouring a long-term agreement with Lewisham, personally I’m going to be pragmatic.
I’m going to watch ‘em. I told you – I’m a sucker for fireworks.
And I’ve paid for them.
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