Harpenden company responsible for Verulamium fireworks crowned national champions

Display in Plymouth put on by British Fireworks Champions, St Albans based Fantastic Fireworks

Display in Plymouth put on by British Fireworks Champions, St Albans based Fantastic Fireworks - Credit: pic supplied

Bright sparks at the company behind the spectacular annual fireworks display in Verulamium Park have been crowned British Fireworks Champions.

Fantastic Fireworks, based near Harpenden, recently won the title in Plymouth after beating five other leading British teams with an impressive sea-based display watched by an audience of more than 100,000, who lined the city’s cliffs and promenades.

Managing director Jon Culverhouse said: “It’s a fantastic present for our 30th anniversary year.

“Our team worked in atrocious conditions to get the display up. Wind and driving rain all day soaked everyone to the skin but we managed to keep the fireworks dry. It’s a credit to the professionalism of our team that everything went off as planned.”

Jon said the win was another feather in the cap for the company - which was founded in Redbourn in 1985 - as last year it was invited to the Cannes Film Festival to launch the latest ‘Expendables’ movie.

He said that the key to a great display was attention to detail: “Every second of our winning display was scrutinised at the design stage to make sure colours matched, the angles of the fireworks were correct and the timings of the sequences were precise to the 100th of a second.

“Our most innovative sequence was the creation of a red heart image in the sky, formed by just 18 red stars angled and timed in such a way that they created this very recognisable pattern - which the audience recognised, appreciated and applauded.”

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Asked about the latest trends in displays, Jon replied that it was “more about the technology than the fireworks themselves.

“Remote control and wireless firing make it easier to fire displays in all sorts of situations. Rather than longer displays, clients are now asking us to fire a more intensive, spectacular display over just a few minutes than anything more drawn out.

“Often these are set to one song lasting three to four minutes. ‘Greatest Day’ by Take That is a popular choice at weddings!”

Jon said the reason for the continued popularity of fireworks “is something both emotional and elemental.

“Those colourful explosions of fire thump you in the chest and stir a spectrum of emotions from shock and awe to joy and happiness. It’s a feeling of pleasure that appeals to successive generations.”

Staff will travel to Cincinnati later this month to take part in the prestigious international fireworks competition Fire Up the Night, which will pit fireworks companies from Australia, Brazil and England against each other.