Winter Smugglers Night, held on the first Saturday of December for the past 5 years has become one of the major highlights in the Rottingdean calendar. Attracting between 3,000-6,000 visitors on the night and culminating in a spectacular display of fireworks. This event has always been free to attend for everyone.
Its aim is to spark (excuse the pun) interest in the rich history of the village from the 13th century when French pirates sacked the village on their way to Lewes and set light to the villagers taking shelter in the church tower to the centuries of the illegal smuggling trade which thrived here.
Organising this event and complying with the very strict health and safety requirements necessary to keep everyone safe costs a great deal of money which is raised annually by the hard working committee. Security alone costs over £10,000 and that is before the cost of the fireworks and other entertainments. The overall event costs stand at approximately £18,000.
This year we have lost 2 of the larger funders of the event, including the City Council leaving us with a large shortfall for this year’s event. Despite our efforts to attract new funds we have not been able to close the gap.
Taking everything into account we have made the decision to cancel this year’s event while we begin the process of becoming a charitable organisation to widen the sources of funding we can apply for and to strengthen our personnel resources. This is with the view to putting on the event in December 2018 with sufficient funds and resources in place so that the event lives up to popular expectation.
Smugglers will continue to need those individuals and businesses that have contributed financially and we are very grateful to them. We will also be encouraging other businesses and concerns to support an event which brings an unprecedented level of footfall to Rottingdean.
Smugglers would also like to hear from people willing to join and strengthen the management of the event. You can reach us via our website www.rottingdeansmugglers.co.uk
We are determined to put on a show next year and with your help we will make sure it lives up to expectations
Amazing photo used from the Rottingdean Smugglers site taken by Roz Bassford-South