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Guy Fawkes helps Tower Hamlets set off its explosive bid for £1m culture cash

PUBLISHED: 16:55 06 November 2017 | UPDATED: 12:05 08 November 2017

Night sky over Vicky Park is set alight on 413th anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot. Picture: Rehan Jamil

Night sky over Vicky Park is set alight on 413th anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot. Picture: Rehan Jamil

© Rehan Jamil

Tens of thousands of spectators who braved the winter cold last night to watch the Guy Fawkes fireworks heard the mayor of Tower Hamlets pitch for a £1 million ‘culture cash’ up for grabs from City Hall.

Mayor John Biggs urges crowd watching firework display at Vicky Park to back his £1m bid for London Culture Borough. Picture: Rehan Jamil Mayor John Biggs urges crowd watching firework display at Vicky Park to back his £1m bid for London Culture Borough. Picture: Rehan Jamil

Fireworks lit up the sky in east London after John Biggs’ speech to the record-breaking 80,000-strong crowd calling for public support for the local authority’s campaign to be the ‘London Borough of Culture’.

“The Mayor of London is offering more than £1 million to the winners of the 2019 and 2020 competitions to spend on culture,” he said.

“We need help to win this opportunity for the East End to recognise its rich mix of people, culture and heritage.”

He urged web surfers to go to go to the council’s online page and use the #showtimeTH hashtag to vote for the Tower Hamlets’ campaign—first revealed in the East London Advertiser last month.

Crowds throng Victoria Park for Tower Hamlets council's annual Guy Fawkes bonfire night display. Picture: Rehan Jamil Crowds throng Victoria Park for Tower Hamlets council's annual Guy Fawkes bonfire night display. Picture: Rehan Jamil

His ‘culture bid’ team from the town Hall turned up at Victoria Park to take pledges of support.

“Every pledge counts,” the mayor added. “The deadline to make your voice heard is the end of this month.”

The campaign was launched in the week a deal was signed with AEG International promoters for major festivals and community events at Vicky Park for the next five years.

The All Points East festival over two consecutive weekends between May 25 and June 3 next year replaces the Lovebox and Field Day festivals—but with a difference.

Fireworks in Victoria Park on November 5 Bonfire Night. Picture: Rehan Jamil Fireworks in Victoria Park on November 5 Bonfire Night. Picture: Rehan Jamil

The four weekdays in between are for free community events using the festival facilities such as the stage, lights, toilets, bars and the huge screens for an open air cinema.

But last night it was the time for pyrotechnics to retell the story of Guy Fawkes and fellow conspirators out to blow up Parliament in 1605—the Gunpowder Plot that ran out of steam when the attempt was foiled in the nick of time.

Lucky King James I avoided assassination by the skin of his teeth, while the luckless Fawkes swung on a rope the following January.

Children down the ages have been celebrating ever since—and collecting their “penny for the guy” in the bargain.

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