My love affair with fireworks started in 1995 when Darryl (a friend from school) asked me to help on his Barge at the VJ Day Fireworks on the Thames. I was working at the MOD at the time so any excuse to get closer to a physical challenge, some teamwork and some explosives!
Little did I know that ten years later I would be working full time with him co-producing the Trafalgar 200 Celebrations involving 200 vessels on the Solent.
Fast forward another 10 years I find myself preparing the accounts for a second very successful year running my own firework business with my co owners Darryl, Toby and Ian. There is nothing like an impending redundancy to release those entrepreneurial juices.
As we set out on the Titanium Fireworks journey I wondered if anything could ever match the challenge, privilege and ultimately the joy of planning and delivering the London 2012 Ceremonies We didn’t have to wait too long to discover the answer when within 7 months of trading we delivered both London New Year’s Eve and Edinburgh’s Hogmanay on the same night (not forgetting the matter of a large display at LEGOLAND).
Winning the bid to fire the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014 validated the decision to invest all we had in Titanium. There is something magical about playing a part in these large events – watching the artistic ideas transform from words to sketches and into reality in front of massive international audiences. Probably the closest I have come to danger in my firework career was travelling the opposite way to the cast of children heading excitedly to the opening number dress rehearsal on stage at Celtic Park – never have I seen a happier group of kids so utterly engaged in role play!
2014 also saw the 50th Anniversary of the Forth Road Bridge and just as nobody who saw it will forget the 1KM waterfall, none of us who worked on it will forget the 1.2km walk from one end of the firework positions to the other.
2015 is already offering new exciting challenges so I hope that my next update in 2025 will be as full of memories and achievements as the last 20 years. We are lucky that we have a small army of skilled and enthusiastic contractors and part time firers to help us in what we do. On New Year’s Eve we employ 50 people and we are very grateful to them for giving up time at a special time of year to work with us.
In between the high profile televised events are scores of smaller displays for concerts, festivals parties and weddings. Only last weekend I was out with Ian on a glorious late spring evening in Buckinghamshire firing a modest (though I would say perfectly formed) display for a wedding party. There is a buzz of excitement at every display as careful thought, meticulous planning and considered execution comes to fruition and one can hear cheering from the audience as the Finale exhales and returns the darkness.
The client was so pleased they walked down to say thank you in person. Such moments are not recorded for television but they make equally pleasing and lasting memories.
It is great to do a job which brings great personal satisfaction from delivering delight to others.