THE success of this year’s bonfire night and fireworks display highlighted just how important the event was to Hexham, organisers have stressed.

Chairman of Hexham Round Table Andy Laidler issued a plea to local residents last week asking for new committee members, men between the ages of 18 and 45, to keep the annual event going. It has been run by the organisation since 1956.

With volunteers down to a bare minimum, concerns were raised that the Round Table would no longer be able to host the event.

But Mr Laidler was hopeful that men watching the 30-minute display, which raised more than £15,000 for next year’s running costs and local good causes, would sign up to build on its excellent reputation.

He said: “It would be a huge loss to Hexham, not just economically but also for the social continuity it brings.

“We know that three and four generations head to the bonfire, sometimes from all corners of the globe, with people coming from Japan and China.

“We will decide if we can keep running it at our AGM in April, but we need more men, otherwise we will look to hand it over.”

Following Mr Laidler’s appeal for extra manpower, concerns were expressed about women being excluded.

However, he explained that the constitution of the Round Table meant that only men under the age of 45 could join the organisation, but a female-only Ladies’ Circle could help out if it was re-established in the town.