WHY ALWAYS ME? – LEWES BONFIRE NIGHT 2011 MANCHESTER City footballer Mario Balotelli was set alight this year at Lewes’ 2011 bonfire night.

WHY ALWAYS ME? – LEWES BONFIRE NIGHT 2011 Manchester City footballer Mario Balotelli was set alight this year at Lewes for its annual bonfire night. 

By Abby Rugg

lewes bonfire night 2011
Photo used under Creative Commons by

 It wasn’t the player himself, however – a 40ft (12m) effigy of Balotelli was the main attraction for the 2011 event.

The caption ‘Why Always Me?’ was printed boldly on the effigy, reminding the crowd of City’s match against rivals Manchester United.

 When he bared the shirt to the crowd all those many weeks ago, perhaps he was asking for the organisers to pick him as the central feature – after all, he does seem to enjoy being the ‘main attraction’ on the pitch.

 The annual celebration has made national headlines in the past: ten years ago an effigy of Osama bin Laden made news; and last year saw an effigy of David Cameron holding a puppet of Nick Clegg.

The event is one of the largest in the country and the town welcomed more than 60,000 people to the streets this November – four times the town’s population.

 Last year Lewes welcomed 40,000 people with 20,000 arriving by train.

 This year, 33,000 travelled by rail.

Paramedics treated 170 people, and 22 were taken to hospital, two of which were treated for serious head injuries as a result of falls.

 Lewes Bonfire Night boasts six separate bonfires, hours of fireworks, burning effigies and bonfire prayers.

It marks the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot (1605) and also the 17 Protestant martyrs burned at the stake in Lewes (1555) by a Catholic monarch.

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