Brexit is set to go with a bang in Fenland and West Norfolk thanks to local firm
It may have split the nation down the middle for the last four years, but Brexit might be providing an unlikely boost for one part of the economy.
Fireworks companies operating in West Norfolk say they have enjoyed a big surge in business from clients looking to celebrate Britain’s departure from the European Union tonight.
But pro-Europe campaigners say they will fight on to continue supporting EU citizens living here over the coming months and years.
The United Kingdom will formally leave the EU at 11pm this evening after 47 years of membership and more than three and a half years on from the June 2016 referendum.
West Norfolk was a strongly pro-Leave area with people voting virtually two to one in favour of Brexit then and strong support for clearly pro-Brexit candidates in both the European elections and the General Election last year.
And our final exit has given an unexpected trading boost to the White Lighting fireworks shop and display team, based at Emneth.
Owner Vanessa White says she has had around 30 customers visit at a time of the year when normally there would be virtually none.
She said: “After New Year, January is normally really quiet but, all of a sudden in the last few days, we’ve had several customers coming in.
“We say, ‘Is it a party or a birthday’ and they say ‘No, it’s a Brexit party.’”
Miss White said she was realistic that the boost to trade was likely to be a one-off but, with a busy programme of displays already planned for 2020, she would be delighted if it was sustained in the longer term. She added: “Bring it on. If we can have more of this, we’re happy.”
Meanwhile, Viv Gedney, who runs Fireworks 4 You, which has a collection point in North Lynn, said people had been ordering supplies from his outlets for several weeks.
to prepare for tonight.
He added: “I can name customers that normally wouldn’t touch fireworks who have bought some for Brexit.
“I do like to ask what it’s about and it’s a Brexit thing. They say, ‘Yes, I’m going to make a noise.’”
Of course, not everyone will be celebrating tonight and the Norfolk for Europe campaign is marking the occasion with a bring and share supper where members are being encouraged to bring their friends from EU member states to join them.
Rob Colwell, who led the Remain campaign in West Norfolk in 2016 and stood for the Liberal Democrats at December’s General Election, said: “The message is that we will be there for our neighbours, friends and strangers who feel unsettled or anxious over the next 11 months. “
The group will also meet tomorrow to discuss its future activities.
More by this authorAllister Webb