Organisers of Tring’s Festival of Fire fireworks bonanza have vowed to bounce back after receiving a torrent of hateful abuse over the event.
Friends Meredith Hepner Chapman and Victoria Scriven – who spent 11 months organising the night and securing sponsorship from local businesses – were stunned after several disgruntled festival-goers approached them during the show and verbally abused them in front of young children.
Meredith, who moved to Tring from London two years ago, said: “It was terrifying. This man towered over us and pointed his finger in our faces, saying we were disgusting and a disgrace. He left us in tears.
“It’s just heartbreaking when you try to do something nice for people and you get attacked.
“But we’ve taken everyone’s comments on board and we will come back next year, because it wouldn’t be fair on the cricket club for us to just walk away.”
Following the event on Saturday evening, people took to Facebook to post scathing comments.
One user said: “I hated it. It was boring and there was nothing to do for the children. I definitely won’t be going next year.” Another said: “Don’t do this again. Everyone I spoke to said how awful it was.”
Some expressed unhappiness at the new programme of entertainment which included a show from Wrestleforce, but some deemed it ‘unsuitable’ for family viewing.
Others complained about the lack of games for young children and an extra ten minute wait for the fireworks.
Mum-of-four Meredith said: “In hindsight, we were wrong about the wrestling. It didn’t work – we take that on the chin.
“And we completely understand people’s anger at having to wait for the fireworks, that must have been so frustrating.”
The pair – who own and run Brilliant Birds event planning – volunteered their services for free in a bid to revamp the old formula and raise funds for Tring Cricket Club.
Despite the backlash, the majority stepped in to defend the night, saying the organisers should be thanked for their efforts.
One said: “To those of you moaning, why don’t you just be grateful to the volunteers who worked their backsides off for your entertainment?
Another said: “ Sad to see all the negative feedback. We had a brilliant evening!”
Victoria, who lives in North London, said: “There were so many lovely people who sent wonderful messages to us, so we want to thank them.”
Meredith said: “We are so humble to the fact that we got things wrong, and we are so sorry. We put ourselves out there and took a risk.
“We will absolutely listen to people, and we totally understand there are things we need to work on.”
A spokesperson for Tring Cricket Club said: “The cricket club is really grateful for all the hard work by a whole team of volunteers that went into producing an event that, from a fundraising perspective, is one of the most successful we have ever staged.”