2011 arrived in a fairly quiet way. The evening had been wet at times but just an annoying drizzle. Everything was in place. The clocks had been put up the day before (Thursday) and set to the correct time, the barriers were set up as usual at 6pm. The marshals briefing had taken place and they were at their positions with fire extinguishers and radios where needed. The brochure distribution was well under way with teams of swingers helping to collect donations in exchange for this years edition. Some swingers were working the ‘clickers’ at these points, to monitor the numbers of spectators arriving for the police.

At 11.30pm the brochure distribution points pack up and the swingers take their fireballs down to the slipway for assembly, drenching and lighting. Despite a vital street light being out (after repeated phone calls to the lighting department) on the shorehead the assembly, drenching and lighting up process went ahead reasonably well.

On the stroke of Midnight the lead swinger, Alan Venters, lead off the ceremony walking behind the lone piper. 46 swingers followed Alan with their fireballs alight (some more than others!) to enthral the crowd of approx. 8000. For the next 23 minutes the ‘balls burned, the swingers swung and the crowd cheered them up and down the High Street until they were done, throwing what was left into the cold harbour water at the slipway.

At 25 past midnight the steam and smoke from the last ball was just blowing away in the soft cold breeze when the sky burst into life for a five minute feast of light and sparkle from the firework display. After a spellbinding show, that ended in a silver shower that seemed to last for ever, a wave of cheering and applause moved round the crescent of the harbour and brought the magic to an end – normal service was resumed – sadly!

After the cash counting had been done £1857.00 had been collected from the spectators and as good as that is it only works out at 23p per person or 1p per person per minute for all 47 swingers! Just as well they all do it for their own reasons and benefit.

Those who took part were -

    Alan Venters (Past chairman)
    Susan Leiper (Chairwoman)
    Martin Sim (Vice-chair)
    George Emslie
    Pam Leiper
    Gill Walker
    George Carr (committee)
    Raymond Penny
    Ross Milne (committee)
    Allen Begg
    Mark Anderson
    Genevieve Leaper
    David Hamilton
    Stuart Campell
    Robert Carr
    Jean Houghton
    George Reid
    Isobel Smith
    Gary Smith
    Stuart Gibb
    Neil Swanson
    Andrinne Craig (committee)
    Rachel Penny
    Ian Penny
    Colin Penny
    David Ogilvy
    Jim Stephen
    Paul Ward
    Roger Owen (committee)
    Bill Emslie
    Lynn Callaghan (committee)
    Stephen Hull
    Andrew Jackson
    Stephen Hall
    Wendy Wilson
    Linda Lawson
    Paul Mackie
    Didn’t use
    Birnie Lees
    Graeme Cusine
    Maurice Coull
    Murray Leiper
    Joan Aitken (committee)
    George Black
    Tommy Ewing
    Mel Christie
    Andrew Ritchie (committee)
    Neil Easton