Health and safety regulations will spark Britain’s first indoor ‘non-fire night’ tonight to ensure children were not at risk of being injured by explosions.
The indoor event – with fireworks laser projected onto a giant screen – was held for children and pensioners at a community centre in Pulham St Mary, Norfolk.
Instead of wrapping up warm to enjoy the bangs of fireworks around 100 youngsters will sit inside watching images on a projector screen.
The virtual fireworks are accompanied by sounds of explosions, including ‘bangs’, ‘whistles’ and ‘crackles’ recorded from outdoor displays.
Childrens groups have accused the event’s organisers of subscribing to ”cotton wool culture” and killing off an important British tradition.
But organisers hailed their indoor bonfire night as ‘safer’ than big outdoor events, which must meet stringent council health and safety regulations.
Kerri Worrall, 33, and husband Nick, 33, who run entertainment company Add Some Music, shipped in a ‘Sega’ firework projector from Japan for the show.
Mrs Worrall said: ”It is completely safe for people who don’t want to stand out in the wind and rain. Some children and older people don’t want to be outside in the cold.
”The projector takes away the safety risk and means you are in a nice warm place to watch the fireworks. It’s a really good change to standing outside on a cold night.
”It’s great for venues where they can’t have an outdoor display because often if you have an outside fireworks night there are all sorts of regulations you need to meet.
”The projection system is very realistic. It is a round box, you take the lid off and there are cartridges for different fireworks.
”You load different cartridges in to get different effects. The room needs to be in total darkness.
”It doesn’t have the same noise as a firework. Each cartridge beams a light you see go up the wall and explode on the wall.
”But in the darkness it looks like proper firework exploding above you.”
Around 100 children and pensioners have bought tickets for the show at the Pennoyer Centre, in Pulham St Mary, today.
There will be Guy-making for the children followed by a 30-minute fireworks show on the Sega indoor fireworks projector, which costs around £130 in Japan, at 7pm.
Indoor fireworks displays are extremely popular in technologically advanced Japan because of the lack of communal spaces in packed urban areas.
Kerri and Nick believe indoor fireworks events will become popular in Britain because health and safety regulations make outdoor shows hard to stage.
But Laura Midgley, co-founder of Campaign Against Political Correctness, believes the ‘non-fire night’ ”misses the point” of fireworks night.
She said: ”Children are spending all their time looking at computer screens it would be a shame if they missed out on the real bangs and sights of fireworks.
”I’m sure it will appeal to some people but I can’t imagine it could have mass appeal.
”I’ve seen fireworks be put on a big screen before but bringing it indoors is ridiculous and misses the whole point of the evening.
”Bonfire Night is one of the few times of the year people get out together get fresh air and meet other people.
”Sitting huddled round a community centre is not quite the point, is it.”
Becky McLauchlan, Play England added: ”Bonfire night is a really exciting and fun night for all the family to enjoy, especially children.
”Holding your first sparkler, cooking sausages and baked potatoes, and wrapping up warm against the elements to watch the local firework display, are all part of this great British tradition and a rights of passage for many.
”Of course we have to be very safety conscious around fire and fireworks, but this conversation is a good way of teaching children to understand the dangers of fire to themselves and others, and how to treat it with respect.
”With our increasingly sedentary and indoor modern lifestyles, we have seen far too much of a cotton wool culture in our society.
”The recent Lord Young review on health and safety, has recommended that in future we take a more common sense approach to regulations and adopt a risk-benefit assessment – finding the balance between positive impacts and potential risks.”
The Pennoyer Centre is a £1.1m Lottery-funded community centre which opened in the summer following renovations of the old village school buildings.