The charitable side of... Bonfire Night

John Plummer

Although most Bonfire Night campaigning revolves around animal welfare, humans get a look-in too.

It is probably a reflection of the British people that the majority of charity campaigning around Bonfire Night is for the benefit of dogs rather than people.

This may seem strange, given that canines are less likely than children to poke themselves in the eye with a sparkler or return to a lit firework out of curiosity. But the sensitivity of doggy ears has animal charities hounding the press every November. "The sudden loud bang of fireworks has a similar impact to a wartime bomb on soldiers, resulting in shell shock and post traumatic stress disorders," says Guide Dogs spokesman Chris Dyson.

Guide Dogs sent a letter to newspapers on behalf of Assistance Dogs UK - a coalition that also includes Dogs for the Disabled, Hearing Dogs, Support Dogs and Canine Partners - appealing for "sensible celebrations".

Dogs Trust followed by sending newspaper editors tips, such as investing in dog earplugs, and the RSPCA ramped up its bid to lower the maximum decibel level on fireworks from 120 to 97. It fears an EU directive setting a level of 120 could render any further lobbying of the UK Government pointless.

For humans, there is a Department of Trade and Industry fireworks safety campaign, supported by the Child Accident Prevention Trust, Fight for Sight and the Blue Cross - but it has been scaled down to tips on a website.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents' site has similar advice.

The night itself explodes Rotary Clubs' coffers. The Battersea Park event raised £8,000 for charity last year, mostly for Rotary Clubs, which collect cash at bonfires across the country and distribute it to local causes.

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