THOUSANDS of people descended on Oxford’s South Park for the biggest fireworks display in the county.

Oxford Fireworks, organised by Oxford Round Table and staged by Kimbolton Fireworks company, treated visitors to a display costing more than £20,000 and a 50ft bonfire.

Witney band The Standard headlined the live music stage as several local acts played to the crowds, while children were kept busy by a huge funfair that ran all evening.

This was the 51st edition of an event that has raised more than £1m for charities, who apply for donations from Oxford Round Table.

Organisers were unable to say how many people attended the event, but Oxford Round Table chairman, Neil Holdstock, said: “It’s absolutely huge compared to other fireworks displays.

“It’s gone from a small fireworks display in someone’s back garden to spending more than £20,000 on fireworks.

“It’s a night out rather than just about the fireworks.” 

The display lasted around half an hour, but many people stayed until the 9.30pm closing time to enjoy the attraction and refreshments.

Some residents living next to South Park elected to watch from the comfort of their back gardens, while four individuals attempted to enter without paying for a ticket.

Mr Holdstock, from Headington, said: “It’s always disappointing when there are fence-jumpers or people outside refusing to pay, as all they’re actually doing is denying the charities more funds.

“Most people were happy to support us and full of praise for the work we do.”

Headington resident Duncan Anderson, who attended with wife Helen and their three children, said: “The fireworks were really impressive, we went to the fair and the kids had fun. It’s a good night out.”

Volunteers were on site until around 2pm yesterday, including 20 representatives from Ronald McDonald House at the Oxford Children’s Hospital.

In return, the charity will receive a donation from Oxford Round Table, which has helped several charities including Oxford Food Bank and Helen & Douglas House in the last year.

But Blenheim Palace’s fireworks display was not so successful, with the palace apologising to visitors for problems with the ‘queues and experience’ after several complaints.