PICTURES: Plymouth Hoe Bonfire Night fireworks and celebrations 2012
THE BRIGHT lights and big sounds took hold of The Hoe last night even before the fireworks were lit at the Bonfire Night extravaganza.
Thousands packed Plymouth's waterfront to enjoy both the free 18-minute display launched from the ramparts of the Citadel as well as the multitude of amusements and funfair rides along The Hoe.
Smeaton's Tower was illuminated along with the Royal Citadel walls, the Hoe gardens and the Royal Naval War Memorial, as the vast bonfire set near the Plymouth Dome was lit.
It was topped this year by a huge Guy Fawkes effigy made by children of Beechwood Primary School in Southway. In the run up to the fireworks the crowds were kept entertained with music from Lady Gaga tribute artist Sam Chapman, local singer Felicity Dukes, local duo Natalie and Cotty, as well as Plymouth street dance crew Beat-Breakers.
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Surrey-based fireworks company Pyrovision set off the exciting display on a crisp and clear night, accompanied by a musical soundtrack including One Direction, Coldplay and a celebratory James Bond medley, all courtesy of local firm Stage Electrics.
Sarah Cartwright, aged, 36, of Beacon Park had brought her sons Luke, aged 15, and Macauley, aged 17, to enjoy the show. She said: "I moved here from a tiny village in Yorkshire 10 years ago and this is the very first time I've been here for the fireworks. I really wanted to come down here this time and it was quite a mild night. In my old village we would have fireworks for the locals, but this is on such a huge scale and is something for everyone to enjoy."
Plymouth University students Douglas Parsons, aged 17, Dean Kerfoot, aged 21 and Rijin Raju, aged 19 had also trekked to the Hoe for the spectacle. Douglas, who hails from Sidmouth and is studying electrical engineering, said he had recently got into photography and was trying out his skills. He said: "It's a good atmosphere. I brought my camera along for the night – it's a hobby I've got into over the summer."
Richard Eccles, aged 69, said he had come down to the Hoe "by chance" and had thoroughly enjoyed the evening.
Hailing from Worcestershire, he had a flat in Millbay and had strolled over to watch the event.
He said: "I thought I would pop up and have a look. I thought it was a very good display and very well presented. It was a good turnout and it was a nice evening for it. I've been here for the National Fireworks Championships and there was almost as many people up here tonight as there is then."
Families had come to The Hoe in large numbers, including the Cowell family from Crownhill.
Dad Rob, aged 31, was with wife Jo, as well as sons Sam, eight and Alex, four.
He said: "We thought we'd come up for a short while .
It's good to get the family out for Bonfire Night and experience the whole thing.
"It was a nice show and it's nice to see such a big crowd and a great atmosphere."
Meanwhile, Plymouth fire crews were kept busy with a number of incidents. Firefighters faced a crowd of abusive youths in Hunter Close, Crownhill who had piled wheelie bins, bicycles and even a wheelchair on one bonfire. In nearby Ringmore Way, arsonists targeted playpark matting while a stray rocket set scrubland alight in Leigham.