The huge crowds that descended on Worthing on Sunday night have made the Tide of Light the biggest bonfire celebration of its kind, organisers have claimed.
Sussex Police confirmed to organisers that more than 40,000 revellers turned up to this year’s event, double the size of the celebration’s audience five years ago.
Volunteer director of the Tide of Light, Jess Estcourt, claimed it was 5,000 more than the crowd at the Lewes bonfire celebrations this year. She said: “We are officially the biggest South Coast event on the 5th of November.
“We were absolutely gobsmacked. To run an event in Worthing and get 40,000 people, we were speechless. We’re proud of ourselves that we were able to produce something so safely, yet so brilliantly.
“It sounds mushy, but we love Worthing and the way they respond when they are offered quality, exciting and innovative events.”
Part of the innovation was the toddler rave held in the afternoon at the Pavilion Theatre, which catered for young families who could not make the fireworks.
Rave organiser Dan Flanagan, from Ripley Road, Worthing, said the 1,0000-strong crowds ranged from a three-month-old baby to a 73-year-old grandmother called Rita celebrating her birthday.
Dan’s five-year-old son Nathaniel, known as Natty, helped onstage during the rave. Dan said his favourite moment was watching town crier Bob Smytherman dancing with the children to hip-hop group House of Pain.
He said: “I’m very excited for next year. We are all getting to grips with just how big an event it was.”