City will light up again this year thanks to MBNA donation
Organisers of the City’s annual Fireworks Fun Night at Chester Racecourse have admitted that this year’s event was in serious jeopardy, until MBNA stepped in with a donation to help cover the costs.
Chester Lions, the charitable organisation that coordinates the November display each year, today thanked the Chester-based credit card company for rescuing the annual Chester firework celebration, which traditionally attracts thousands of spectators.
The donation from MBNA’s charitable arm, the MBNA Foundation, will help cover the logistics and costs of putting on this year’s display, meaning ticket sales on the night will directly benefit a number of worthy causes supported by the Chester Lions. Around 90% of the funds will go to local charities and the remaining 10% will be used to support overseas projects.
Peter Upton of Chester Lions said: “A lot of people don’t realise that the future of this year’s fireworks display has been hanging in the balance for some time. Things were looking bleak to be honest. The event is our biggest outlay of the year – and costs have risen dramatically over the last few years.
“Our main goal is to provide a community service through the fireworks. The Council and Chester Racecourse support us, however, other than that we are entirely reliant on donations to make the display happen.
“We normally fund it from entrance fees, with 100% of the rest of the funds raised going straight to charity. However, last year’s bad weather meant that we got a smaller turnout than normal, which put this year’s display on very shaky ground. Thanks to MBNA, not only is the firework display back on, but we want to make it bigger and better than ever. We’re looking at including a funfair, a live band and family entertainment, as well as catering through Chester Racecourse, so there should be a real carnival atmosphere. Let’s come together and make the most of this important community event...and, as a first step, we’d ask people to please put Saturday 8th November in their diaries!”
Ian O’Doherty, Chief Executive at MBNA said: “The fireworks display is an important part of the Chester calendar and has been going for around 40 years, so it would have been a real shame to have lost it. Through the MBNA Foundation, we’re delighted to be able to step in and support the Chester Lions this year and we hope this donation gives the event the best possible chance for the future.”
Pictured left to right are: Ian O’Doherty and Peter Upton at Chester Racecourse, the location for this year’s firework celebrations.