Fireworks for a half-century of Oxmoor

A FIREWORK display celebrating 50 years of Huntingdon’s Oxmoor housing estate drew in record crowds of spectators to Conegyear Park on Friday.

Around 4,500 people gathered for the light and music spectacular run by Manchester-based firm Nemesis and organised by the Oxmoor Community Action Group.

Ahead of the display at 7pm, there was a competition held to see which Guy Fawkes would get the prime spot on the bonfire.

Ten-year-old 1st Hartford Scout George Woodley’s Guy was declared the winner by Huntingdon mayor Alan Mackender-Lawrence and hoisted to the top of the pile, while the remaining seven entries had to settle for a place at the bottom.

Awards were also handed out to winners of the pet safety on bonfire night competition, run by OCAG in conjunction with Huntingdonshire District Council and Wood Green Animal Shelters.

Action group chairman Jill Watkin-Tavener said: “I was hoping to have large numbers for it. We had started spreading the word quite early this year.

“This is our fifth year doing the fireworks. Last year it dropped to 2,500 people and that is the smallest we have ever had.

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“It was a very good atmosphere. People came from Peterborough to be there. They had either heard of it or they have got relations that live here.”

Celebrations for the Oxmoor’s 50th anniversary started in April, with the launch of the Oxmoor community charter, which aims to encourage residents to invest in their communities.

Mrs Watkin-Tavener said recent plans to change the name of the Oxmoor estate in a bid to shed its reputation for high crime and low social aspiration had been shelved.

She hoped this year’s celebrations would mark a new dawn for the estate, and draw a line under negative connotations.

“The Oxmoor has been at the bottom of the pile, but it is growing and coming back up again, and we have got to celebrate that.

“I have always pushed for keeping the name, because it says everything about how it was and where it is today.

“It is better to keep the name and get some good PR for the Oxmoor. It has got so much. It has got green areas and lots of groups that all work together. It is a very good community, and 4,500 people coming to the fireworks prove that.”