Local Community Fuse Not Lit by Cowes Week Fireworks 5


Cowes on the Isle of Wight is the traditional home of UK sailing. The economy depends on the sport to rescue it from being just another UK seaside town. In recent years, the town’s biggest money maker Cowes Week has been paid for by competitors and corporate sponsors.

Without a major sponsor, Cowes Week organisers have asked the community to donate £50,000 to ‘save’ the annual fireworks display that accompanies the sailing. To date, the community hasn’t really risen to the challenge. The Facebook page set up to rally support has attracted 3,500 members, but these supporters have only contributed £1 each.

An anonymous donor has put up £25,000, but the exercise shows a strange lack of commitment from local business. Organisers claim that Cowes Week generates millions of dollars for the local economy, so where are the donations from pubs, shops, taxi drivers and accommodation providers who gain the most from the display?

Many sailors who compete in the event couldn’t care less if there were fireworks or not. Revellers in the beer tents probably wouldn’t miss them either. Of course they are not the most environmentally friendly things on the planet, so perhaps the local community actually doesn’t want them.

Given that 100 businesses would only have to pay £250 each to raise the remaining money, it is more likely, they just want someone else to pay for them, but still take advantage of the financial rewards.

  • I am a huge supporter of Cowes Week having been its Press Officer for eight years (retired from that role in 2008 for personal reasons) and I of course wish it the greatest success in 2009 and beyond. I don't think it needs fireworks to make it wonderful and memorable, especially in a year in which it is running the world's largest regatta without title sponsorship. I still represent a client who, as an official supplier (Nexus Marine the Swedish marine navigation specialists for racing sailors), is supporting the regatta again this year despite tighter budgets. Everyone is willing the event to be, once again, a fantastic success.

    However, you can't get away from the stark fact that when the country (nay the world) is in such deep recession, the last thing on peoples' minds is having money to literally burn. Perhaps it would be deemed more pc to give these generous contributions to the event's charity, the RNLI ? Whatever the outcome, I know that those who are there this year will have a terrific time.

  • Good points. Why dont either / and a) Cowes Week abandon the fireworks and spend the money on something else and b) people who don't want to donate to the fireworks say so. Like anyone needs to see another fireworks display in their lifetime. The Red Arrows on the other hand were amazing at Cowes last year.

  • I am a huge supporter of Cowes Week having been its Press Officer for eight years (retired from that role in 2008 for personal reasons) and I of course wish it the greatest success in 2009 and beyond. I don't think it needs fireworks to make it wonderful and memorable, especially in a year in which it is running the world's largest regatta without title sponsorship. I still represent a client who, as an official supplier (Nexus Marine the Swedish marine navigation specialists for racing sailors), is supporting the regatta again this year despite tighter budgets. Everyone is willing the event to be, once again, a fantastic success.

    However, you can't get away from the stark fact that when the country (nay the world) is in such deep recession, the last thing on peoples' minds is having money to literally burn. Perhaps it would be deemed more pc to give these generous contributions to the event's charity, the RNLI ? Whatever the outcome, I know that those who are there this year will have a terrific time.

  • Good points. Why dont either / and a) Cowes Week abandon the fireworks and spend the money on something else and b) people who don't want to donate to the fireworks say so. Like anyone needs to see another fireworks display in their lifetime. The Red Arrows on the other hand were amazing at Cowes last year.

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