Giant Torrington bonfire involving life-size Mayflower replica postponed due to coronavirus

Torrington Cavaliers set fire to a replica Trumpton village in 2015. Picture: Sarah Howells

Torrington Cavaliers set fire to a replica Trumpton village in 2015. Picture: Sarah Howells - Credit: Archant

A huge charity bonfire which will see a life-size replica of the Mayflower burned has had to be postponed due to coronavirus.

The 'Pilgrim Grandfathers' will be cycling from Holland to Plymouth to raise funds for the giant Tor

The 'Pilgrim Grandfathers' will be cycling from Holland to Plymouth to raise funds for the giant Torrington Cavaliers Mayflower ship bonfire. Picture: contributed - Credit: Archant

Torrington Cavaliers’ ‘Big Burn’ was due to take place on Torrington Common on August 29 during the bank holiday weekend.

But on Wednesday (April 8) the fundraising group, which has spent two years building the replica ship for burning, said it had been forced to postpone until 2021.

Cavaliers chairman Mark Keeley said: “This hasn’t been an easy decision for us but with time running out and the continued uncertainty over these coming months, putting on the event is not possible this year.”

“We are so disappointed not only for us and our partners but for all the charities that we would have financially helped this year.


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“When we’re allowed back on site we’ll continue the build and look forward to putting on a spectacular display next year!”

All tickets that have been sold will be valid for the new date, which will be announced in the next few weeks.

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The event was set to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower .

It is also the 50th anniversary year of the Torrington fundraising group, which is famous for its giant bonfires, that in past years have included replicas of the Houses of Parliament, the Great Fire of London, HMS Victory, Torrington Castle and even Trumpton.

The Cavaliers are officially an ‘on board’ partner of the Mayflower 400 team which are coordinating the national commemoration and the links with the USA and the Netherlands.

It is hoped the burning will raise more than £100,000 for local charities including North Devon Hospice, Devon Air Ambulance, Guide Dogs for the Blind and Torrington Common Conservators.

The pandemic has also affected the ‘Pilgrim Grandfathers’, who were set to cycle hundreds of miles this May to raise enough money to finish building the giant bonfire.

The seven-strong group, all members of the Cavaliers, were due to cycle from Holland to Plymouth, setting off on April 30.

They have been forced to postpone the ride, and hope to complete it at a later date.

For up to date information go to the Torrington Cavaliers website or Facebook page.

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