Redbourn Fireworks firm celebrates at Brocket Hall

PUBLISHED: 19:00 08 October 2010

Four Poofs and A Piano perform

Four Poofs and A Piano perform

Simon Lane Photography

A FIREWORK company’s 25th anniversary celebrations went off with a huge bang at a glitzy party last month.

Guests attending Fantastic Fireworks’ party at Brocket Hall were treated to entertainment from 4 Poofs and a Piano, followed by a breathtaking lakeside firework display, as well as oodles of champagne and a sumptuous feast.

The evening marked 25 years of the successful company which was started in Redbourn by Jon Culverhouse, a former sports reporter.

He moved to Harpenden with his wife Françoise in 1976 after getting a job on the Daily Mail and they relocated to Redbourn five years later.

But in 1981 Jon found himself hooked on fireworks after he bought some he had never seen before from a shop in Harpenden to put on a display for his two young sons.

He explained: “I phoned up the importer and ran a story about them in the Daily Mail on November 5. I never really thought anything more about it but then the importer sent me this huge consignment of fireworks.

“The next big event was New Year’s Eve so I threw a big party with fireworks at midnight and people were saying in throw away remarks, ‘you should do this for a living’ – but the idea took hold of me.”

Seeing the year-round potential of fireworks, Jon advertised and the company took off in 1985 leaving him having to choose fireworks over his 20-year career in journalism.

Since then the business has grown into one of the biggest companies of its kind in the UK and has put on thousands of firework displays, including the first big NYE celebration in London, Liverpool’s 800th birthday and billionaire business magnate Sir Philip Green’s 55th-birthday party in the Maldives.

Jon said: “I can’t believe 25 years have gone so quick. When I remember sitting in the accounts office in Redbourn working out what the likely profit would be from 10 thousand fireworks and to now have an annual turnover now of more than £1 million, it just seems unbelievable that it has grown that much in that time.”

Fantastic Fireworks has also put on displays at bonfire celebrations in Redbourn and St Albans just about every year in the company’s history and Jon said the local events remain their most important.

On bonfire night the company, which is also sells fireworks, puts on some 150 displays across the country and employs around the same number of temporary staff over the period.

Fantastic Fireworks, which has 14 permanent members of staff including Jon’s son Pascal, is now based in Pepperstock but all the stock is still tested at Great Revel End farm in Redbourn.

Jon continued: “We still are and will always be a small business so it’s amazing that we’ve survived 25 years in what is a very fickle market and we’ve got through recessions. I’m pleased to still be here and looking forward to going into work each day.

He added: “I have a team of young and talented staff without whom we wouldn’t be the success story we are, and they are the future of the company. I’m also very grateful to St Albans and Redbourn for their loyal support over the years.”

For more information on Fantastic Fireworks visit www.fantasticfireworks.co.uk


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