Southern rail strike to hit Lewes Bonfire celebrations

Lewes Bonfire
Image caption More than 30 different processions make their way through Lewes on Bonfire Night

A charity relying on the Lewes Bonfire celebration says it fears takings could be down this year due to a Southern rail strike and extended road closures.

Southern has announced no trains or replacement buses will serve the East Sussex town or several neighbouring stations after midday on 5 November.

Town centre roads will be closed from 17:00 GMT until 01:00 on 6 November.

Jonathan Spencer, of The Bevern Trust, said it needed "every penny" donated, and a lower attendance would hit funds.

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The local charity helps young adults with profound disabilities, with much of its income coming from street donations.

'Massive difference'

Mr Spencer, its chief executive, said: "We need to raise £10,000 a month. We have three buses we need to replace - they cost £50,000 each.

"Every penny counts for us, [and] makes a massive difference, not just for people we look after, but their families as well."

Lewes holds one of Britain's biggest Bonfire Night events with more than 30 different processions making their way through the town.

It has seven different bonfire societies, with six of them taking part in the 5 November celebrations.

The number of visitors to the town can be as high as 40,000, though last year numbers fell to between 20,000 to 25,000 spectators due to the wet weather.

Image caption The Bevern Trust relies on much of its income coming from street donations

Mick Symes, of Lewes Borough Bonfire Society, said the exclusion of public transport would be very noticeable this year.

Ch Supt Neil Honnor, of Sussex Police, said officers were not expecting anything to happen, but they needed "contingencies just in case".

"We have to look around the rest of the country, the rest of the world, [at] things that have been going on in the 12 months, and slightly longer.

"Part of those contingencies is we've had to close the A26 from 5pm, and some of the other roads slightly earlier than we normally do."

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