Family’s terror at Harold Hill pub’s “stray” firework

“Blinding” firework nearly hit people watching display

A FAMILY were terrified when a firework flew over the fence of a pub garden and nearly exploded in their faces, minutes after another firework had just missed a small boy’s head, it was claimed.

Scott McAveety, 24, of Bell Avenue, Harold Hill was watching a free display opposite the Saxon King Pub by their car St Neot’s Road, Harold Hill with his partner, Jade Gillibrand, 20, her mother and his uncle while their five-month-old daughter lay sleeping inside the vehicle.

“A big box firework came over the fence and landed in the road in front of us. I grabbed my girlfriend and pushed her into a bush and then pulled my mother-in-law and uncle away. We turned around and saw a very bright white light, it was blinding. It spun around on the floor and then it just exploded. My uncle can barely hear now because of it.

“We were terrified. Another firework had just come over the fence and missed a young boy’s head.”

A 40-year-old neighbour, who wanted to remain anonymous, said she also saw a firework come over the fence and miss the boy.

“I think they were a bit over the top; my one-year-old was scared. I think displays should be in the park really,” she said.

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But staff at the pub which organised the free display said watchers were safe behind the special mesh fence they erected inside its garden under police and fire brigade advice.

“We had 250 people there and it was an absolute success. It’s a shame that one person who wanted to stand outside wanted to make a big complaint. They should’ve come inside – they would’ve enjoyed it,” assistant manager Katrina Oxberry said.

Distribution manager Brian Lock, 45, of Amersham Road, Harold Hill was at the pub with eight children and said: “We felt safe, it was very well organised.”

But Mr McAveety thinks more should have been done.

“I’m not an expert but I’m pretty sure you have to dig a hole and put fireworks in the ground. If this had hit either of us we could have been permanently disfigured.”

Licencee Jane Phillips said: “The display had been planned very carefully for the past two months and we’d like to apologise for the upset we’ve caused.

“It was out of our hands and had not been brought to our attention. The police and fire brigade did attend and made sure everything was running safely. If the family had come in and told us we would have been happy to speak to them.”