It's been more than 400 years since the failed Gunpowder Plot – and the tradition of lighting bonfires, burning effigies and setting off fireworks is still very much alive.

What would poor old Guy Fawkes think of it all?

Well bonfire night is upon us again and if you want to follow the tradition there’s plenty going on to entertain families as Dorset’s skies light up for celebrations.

Some events, like the one at West Bay have already taken place.

But there are many events happening tonight and tomorrow.

Weather wise, there’s a risk of cloudy skies tonight but hopefully clear enough for fireworks.

For the main event tomorrow however it’s set to be perfect conditions – cold, and clear skies, so wrap up warm and enjoy the celebrations.

Events tonight include celebrations at Dorchester. Bridport, Charmouth, Lyme Regis and Sherborne Castle.

At Dorchester Rugby Club (gates open 6pm) visitors can expect the usual spectacular fireworks, children’s inflatables, an outside bar, mulled wine, hog roast, BBQ, live music and more. Buy tickets on the door.

A fireworks event will be held at Bridport Leisure Centre (7pm). Visitors will also be able to buy burgers and hots dogs. Tickets on the door with under 12s free.

The event at Charmouth beach begins at 5pm with fireworks set to launch at 6.45pm.

A free fireworks extravaganza (from 6.30pm) will be held on The Cobb on Lyme Regis harbour tonight. The display is in aid of local charities and donations are encouraged. The display will be followed by a beach bonfire.

Also tonight a bonfire and firework display will be held at the Swan Inn, Abbotsbury. The event will begin at 6pm with fireworks set to launch at 7pm. Visitors can expect mulled wine, a BBQ and more.

And a fireworks display will take place at Parsonage Farm in Dewlish from 5.30pm to 8pm. Visitors can expect live music as well as a barbecue, hot drinks, a licensed bar and more. Adult tickets cost £5 and children’s tickets cost £3.

Meanwhile tomorrow the place to be is at Weymouth Beach where thousands will gather to enjoy the free Guy Fawkes celebrations.

The fun starts at 2pm with a funfair on the Pavilion forecourt along with traditional stalls and attractions on the seafront.

At 6pm the traditional Children’s Guy Fawkes competition gets underway in the foyer of the Pavilion. Judging and prizes will be provided by the Weymouth Pavilion, Alexandra Gardens Pleasure Grounds and Weymouth Swimming Pool (SLM).

Children wanting to enter the competition should meet in the foyer with their Guys at 6pm.

The bonfire will be lit at 7.40pm followed by a firework display at 8pm Weymouth & Portland Borough Council Tourism and Culture spokesman Cllr Richard Kosior said: “Weymouth’s annual Guy Fawkes event creates a wonderful atmosphere and attracts hundreds of visitors.

“Lots of families and friends come down to the seafront to share one of our great annual events in a fun and safe environment.”

For people attending the evening’s activities there is free car parking available in all borough council-run car parks after 6pm.

Looking ahead to next week, Southill Fireworks is on Saturday, November 11 at Southill Shopping Centre, Radipole Lane, from 6.30pm.

n Of course fireworks can be great fun, but despite annual warnings celebrations can end in painful injuries.

If you’re having your own private event, be safe and follow the Firework Code and be careful when lighting bonfires and sparklers.

For more information see and follow the link to fireworks safety.

Pause for 'Fawkes' this weekend

Hedgehog safety

With bonfire night this weekend approaching, wildlife lovers are urging event organisers to remember hedgehogs before lighting up.

Bridport was the first ‘hedgehog friendly’ town in Dorset and Piddletrenthide, East Stour, Halstock, Blandford, Dorchester and Bere Regis soon followed suit in declaring their support for the mammals.

Beaminster, Milborne St Andrew, Portland and Hazelbury Bryan have also recently started the process.

The Dorset Mammal Group (DMG) hopes having hedgehog-friendly towns will reverse the decline of the creatures.

Colin Varndell, hedgehog leader for DMG, said: “At this time of year, hedgehogs are searching for somewhere to hibernate, like piles of brushwood or under dense vegetation.

"Bonfires are ideal places for them to settle down and enter into a deep torpor.

“Unfortunately, a hedgehog cannot wake up from hibernation quickly, so bonfires, although attractive to them are also lethal places.

“If you have a bonfire, build it and light it on the same day; or if it is built over time, move it entirely before igniting to make sure no hedgehogs are burnt alive."

Asthma Alert 

Bonfired and fireworks could cause potentially fatal asthma attacks, a charity has warned.

Asthma UK says smoke fumes from burning wood and firework displays can linger in the air creating localised pollution, which could cause asthma attacks for the 5.4million people in the UK with the condition.

Ahead of November 5 celebrations, the charity advises sufferers:

  • Take your preventer medicines as prescribed
  • Carry your reliever inhaler (usually blue) with you at all times
  •  If you find that smoke is making you cough, stand well back and admire the fireworks from a distance n Make sure your friends and family know what to do and when to get help if your asthma symptoms suddenly get worse
  •  If it’s cold, wrap a scarf over your nose and mouth; this will help to warm up the air before you breathe it in

Asthma UK’s in-house GP, Dr Andy Whittamore, said: “Lots of people love the excitement of bonfire night, but for some people with asthma it could be deadly.

“We don’t want people with asthma to miss out but we want them to be safe and aware of the increased risk this bonfire night when pollution will be higher than normal. “We are urging people with asthma, or parents of children with asthma, to make sure they have their reliever inhaler with them”

Power Lines 

Families celebrating bonfire night should be aware of overhead power lines and other equipment, it is warned.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) says people should avoid letting off rockets and building bonfires near its property.

Ian Crawley, Networks Operational Safety Manager at SSEN, said: “We want everyone to enjoy this special time of year.

"Fireworks and bonfires are a traditional autumn activity and we are keen to help make sure it’s a safe and enjoyable one for all.

“When you’re planning your bonfire and fireworks this weekend, please do so in the daylight so you can get a good idea of what is in the immediate vicinity, both on the ground and overhead.

"Please look up, look out and avoid building bonfires close to our equipment or under our overhead lines.

“Remember, fireworks these days are very powerful and can travel very far. We want everyone to be aware they have the potential to strike one of our overhead power lines or land in a substation.

"Not only could this damage electrical equipment and cause power cuts in your local community, but stray fireworks can also cause serious injuries to spectators and passers-by.

“As a responsible network operator, we want to ensure our communities are armed with this vital safety information to allow them to enjoy bonfire night this year.”

No Burns 

Experts are offering first aid advice in case someone suffers a burn this bonfire night.

The advice from the Red Cross if having to treat a burn is: n

  • Cool the burn under cold running water for at least ten minutes. This will reduce pain, swelling and the risk of scarring. The faster and longer a burn is cooled, the less the impact of the injury
  •  After the burn has been cooled, cover it with cling film or a clean plastic bag. This helps prevent infection by keeping the area clean. Cling film or plastic bags provide an ideal covering because they don’t stick to the burn and reduce pain by keeping air from the skin’s surface
  •  Call 999 if necessary. The burn may need urgent medical treatment. Always seek medical advice for a baby or child that has been burned.
  • What if they are burnt through gloves? If someone is burnt through gloves (or other clothing) don’t try to remove the glove if it is stuck to the burn. This could cause more damage. Instead, cool the burn through the glove with cold running water for at least ten minutes and seek urgent medical treatment. If the glove is not stuck to the burn, you can remove it.
  • I don’t have access to running water. What should I do? If you’re at a bonfire, you may not be within reach of running water.
  • If you don’t have water to cool the burn, you can use any cold liquid like juice, beer or milk – the aim is to cool the area as quickly as possible using whatever cold liquid is available. Switch to cold running water when you have access to it.