THE showman behind the “iconic” Glasgow Green Bonfire Night event has hit out at the controversial decision to axe it for the foreseeable.

Jon White shared his disappointment at the fireworks display being scrapped in the hope that Glasgow Life bosses will change their minds.

The 37-year-old organises the event’s funfairs but also helps with policing, security and first aid, and is the third generation of his family to do so after his mum Amelia and grandad James Irvine.

Jon, who is a member of the Showmen's Guild, said: “Last year it was going ahead, but they cancelled it about a month before. We got emails about pulling the plug right at the last minute and we didn't have any time to speak to anyone.

“We were looking forward to it coming back for 2023.”

This year will be the fourth year running the event has not gone ahead due to Covid-19 in 2020, COP26 in 2021, and no specific reason for last year.

In July this year, it was confirmed by Glasgow Life that the event would be scrapped for the foreseeable so they could “focus on winter and Christmas entertainment”.

Glasgow Times: Jon, from Whiteinch, said: “It’s very disappointing. It's not just us, there are another 20 showman’s families that depend on this to bring their rides to.

"They are based in Bridgeton, Possil, the West End; we all live in areas across Glasgow so it’s people from the city it’s affecting.

“And we’ve been dependent on it for as long as we can remember. It’s one of the most iconic nights in Glasgow, not just for us, but for the Glasgow folk.

“But it’s not so much about our livelihood, it's more sentimental because we’ve all been coming a long time.

“My grandad was at the very first Glasgow Green display and he organised that. He ran it for most of his life before passing it down to my mum who then passed it to me.

“It's a big event that’s always on the calendar for the show people.”

“I’ve only missed one since it first started in the 70s – and it was when I had just given birth to Jon,” Amelia added.

In the past, the event has been attended by up to 80,000 people who travel from all over the city and beyond to attend the safe and organised display.

“It's probably one of the only free events that is put on in the city. You have to get a ballot ticket for the Christmas lights switch-on, and you have to pay to go to other fireworks displays,” Jon added.

Glasgow Times: “We’re more disappointed for the people of Glasgow, as well as for ourselves, but also at the fact there won’t be an organised and safe display for Guy Fawkes, it’s historical.

“Thousands of people are now going to go and let off fireworks in their gardens and parks, which can cause injuries, fires, and more disruption.

“This event eases pressure on the police, the fire department, the NHS, and the ambulance service.

“The fire service is all for organised events on Bonfire Night because they're run off their feet, they're dealing with putting out bonfires all over Glasgow as well as serious call-outs.”

Jon has been in discussion with Glasgow Life through email but claims there has been no offer to meet to talk further.

“There was no ‘come and sit down and talk about funds’ or anything like that. We pay for the police, the first aid, security, a licence fee, and rent.”

“We don’t just roll up,” Amelia added.

Jon went on to say that he could possibly help towards the funds for fireworks.

“If we could change their mind, it would be great”, he added.

A spokesperson for Glasgow Life said: “In recent years we have focussed on the delivery of winter and Christmas entertainment aimed at attracting visitors who will also enjoy Glasgow’s shopping, entertainment and nightlife sectors across several weeks in the lead-up to and during the festive period.

“We haven’t staged a fireworks event in recent years and have no current plan to do so this year or in the future. We are very much looking forward to unveiling our plans for Christmas in due course.”

Glasgow Times:

Area Commander David Murdoch, SFRS local senior officer for Glasgow City, said: “We want the public to enjoy Bonfire Night in a safe way and we always recommend going to an organised display wherever possible.  

“Bonfires have the potential to endanger nearby properties and smoke can become a nuisance to neighbours.  

"Fireworks can also cause serious injury, as well as a lot of distress for many people and animals if they are used inappropriately.  

“People should also be aware of the laws around the use of fireworks. Anyone thinking of hosting a private event involving fire, flame or fireworks is asked to consider the risks and always follow the Firework Code to keep everyone safe. 

“Prevention is a key pillar of our work. We always want to prevent fires, accidents and injuries from occurring in the first place.

“Our Community Action Teams have been engaging with local schools to ensure they are aware of dangers of bonfires and fireworks, and they will continue working with our partners to promote safety messaging.”