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Skinningrove Bonfire celebrates local 'greatest showman'

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image copyrightSkinngingrove Bonfire Committee
image captionThe bonfire celebrates Harry Cooper, whose height made him a celebrity in America

Residents of a Teesside village are celebrating a local "greatest showman" on Bonfire Night.

Each year residents of Skinningrove build a large themed bonfire on the beach, reflecting the area's history.

This year it pays tribute to Harry Cooper who was born locally in 1853, and whose 8ft 6in height made him possibly the tallest man in the world.

While touring with a circus he was spotted by P T Barnum, who made him a celebrity in America.

The bonfire will be in the shape of a giant circus tent with what organisers have described as "our own tribute to Harry Cooper featured prominently".

On the evening, there will also be performances, themed art by local children, and fairground rides.

image copyrightSkinningrove Bonfire Committee
image caption"Pigeongrove" in 2017 reflected the local tradition of pigeon fancying

Previous themes for the bonfire, which is lit following a firework display, have included pigeon fancying, the alum industry, ironstone, and the Olympics.

image copyrightSkinningrove Bonfire Committee
image captionThe bonfire is lit following a firework display

Skinningrove Bonfire, which started in 1982 has grown into a spectacle attracting crowds of up to 5,000.

Local people are involved in the fundraising - the annual cost is now in excess of £11,000 - as well as preparation and construction.

image copyrightSkinningrove Bonfire Committee
image captionPreparation work began in mid October

Redcar and Cleveland Council said that this year it would be operating a park and ride system on the evening of 5 November.

image captionThe annual bonfire and firework display take place on the beach

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