Editorial: It's time to bury that guy Fawkes

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I used to love Guy Fawkes night as a kid - aside from Christmas it was the most anticipated event of the year.

There was something about watching the rockets screech skyward and then explode in a cascade of colour that always left me in awe.

They've long since been banned, but I can still recall the feeling of anticipation as the shopkeeper handed over packets of double happies wrapped in red paper .

Bizarrely, under the rules of the day, I could have bought sky rockets if I had wished. Fortunately for the safety others, I never had the money to do so.

Initially I was outraged when restrictions on the types of fireworks you could buy were introduced but I'm in full agreement now.

My about-face on the issue came after attending a well-organised public display that brought the community together for a fun evening.

It also saved me spending a small fortune on fireworks.

And now, after years of residual fascination with fireworks, I've started to question the relevance of an event that celebrates the death of a man involved in a gunpowder plot in England more than 400 years ago.

One unfortunate link to the past is that the agony experienced by Guy Fawkes, who endured torture before his death, has been experienced by many children over the years after a mishap with fireworks in the backyard of their home.

Children like Mercedez Harrison who featured in the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend.

Five years after a firework flew into her pram and exploded, the 6-year-old is still frightened by loud noises.

After the devastating accident, which made headlines around the country, her mother Polly Anne Tonihi stood up and led calls for the public sale of fireworks to be banned.

She now thinks the only way the Government would impose such a ban is if more little kids got hurt.

I agree with her view.

It seems to me that Guy Fawkes, as an event, has already lost ground as an important date in the yearly calendar.

Halloween, for better or worse, is gaining popularity and organised community firework events, more spectacular than backyard displays, are also being seen by many families as a safer way to mark the event.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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