A PYROTECHNICIAN has pledged to make tonight’s fireworks display at Southill in Weymouth the best ever in honour of his parents.

It is the 13th year that Jon Gabb has entertained thousands of people at the free spectacle on his home turf.

The spectacular display is taking place from 7pm with the main viewpoint from the Southill shopping centre area.

This year all the money donated on the night will go to the Show Them You Care campaign to raise funds for a Weldmar community nurse, The Weldmar Hospicecare Trust is a charity close to Jon’s heart because it has provided respite care for his father Maurice at the Joseph Weld Hospice in Dorchester.

Former Echo print worker Maurice, 72, has Parkinson’s Disease and his wife Jean is the carer. Jon, 37, said: “Really, my dad is the founder of the Southill fireworks. He used to go out and spend £100 on fireworks every year and put on a display in our garden – back when £100 was a lot of money for fireworks.

“When I was 16, I bought them too and we would have around 50 friends, neighbours and family gathered there.

“It grew and grew, then my sister passed away and we moved to Carisbrooke and the garden shrunk and that’s how Southill fireworks began.

“I sorted out all the council permissions and the first year 200 to 300 people turned up.

“Now we have between 2,000 and 3,000 people. The forecast is blustery winds and heavy rain during the day but then it should clear up for the evening.

“It’s going to be the best yet.”

Attractions on the night will include demonstrations from the fire service on how to tackle a chip pan blaze at 7.10pm and 7.40pm.

There will also be a barbecue at The John Gregory pub and stalls and tombolas by community groups Weymouth North Scout Group, Kidz R Us, Southill Primary School PTA and Southill Youth Club.

This year’s Southill Fireworks display has been made possible by the support of numerous local companies including Damers Blinds & Awnings Ltd, Angel Pharmacy, Tidings Newsagent, JD Yachts Ltd, the John Gregory pub, Advoco, LG Interiors Ltd and Absolute Cooling Ltd.

Southill Shopping Centre car park will be closed for the event, and spectators are asked to park responsibly and leave access for emergency services.

* To find out more visit www.southillfireworks.co.uk

Show them you care

THE Show Them You Care campaign aims to pay for a community nurse for a year.

It was launched by the Weldmar Hospicecare Trust and the Dorset Echo in February this year and has so far raised £5,242.20.

To support the campaign donate online at www.justgiving.com/weldmarnurse or send cheques payable to ‘The Weldmar Hospicecare Trust’ to the Dorset Echo offices at Fleet House, Hampshire Road, Weymouth, DT4 9XD To share your story of how Weldmar has helped you, please call Laura Kitching on 01305 830984.