THE organisers of Hexham’s popular bonfire night display have reiterated their concerns that a lack of manpower could see them forced to abandon the event.

The bonfire and fireworks display has been organised by Hexham Round Table for around 70 years, but with the group’s membership numbers on the decline it has said this year could be the last.

Member Andy Laidler said: “The main problem is the lack of men in the table. We have six members and we need at least eight to hold on, but we would like to have around 15.”

On November 2 this year, thousands of people will flock to the much-loved event which has a prominent place on Hexham’s social calendar.

And although this year’s event is organised, the group, which last year also raised concerns about dwindling members, said it had until April next year to secure new members before being forced to hand over the event to another organisation to organise.

Mr Laidler said: “I think the Table is undeniably not particularly good at advertising, which might be why we are struggling. As well as that I think people can think it’s some sort of secret society when in reality it’s just a bunch of guys meeting up.

“The demographic of it can be tricky too because you have to be male aged between 18 and 45. A lot of people move back to Hexham and start having families in their 30s, when they might be too busy to join.”

The Round Table is now looking for male volunteers between 18 and 45 to safeguard the future of the bonfire.

Mr Laidler added: “If we don’t get more members it is likely to go to another organisation, but ideally we wouldn’t want to go down that route. If possible we would also support the creation of a ladies circle in Hexham. There used to be one but it folded about 12 years ago. We would need about eight women to come forward to set that up and they could either take on organising it or we could do it in partnership.”

He added that being a member of the Round Table involved meeting up a couple of times per week, but the duties became more intense when organising the bonfire – the main event.

“It can be a bit like a part-time job at times, but I think the best thing about it is what you get out of it, not just in terms of helping the community, but what you get to do for people. The fireworks displays in Hexham are a calendar event where families come together and it is helping the growth of community and family spirit.

“You might finish a 24-hour day soaking from the rain but when you are doing it with 20,000 other people who are thanking you for a good event it is a great feeling.”

This year’s event will see the bonfire lit at 6.30pm followed by the fireworks.

Anyone interested in joining the Round Table can contact the organisation on