Creative team building Guy for Sparks in the Park

It takes 10 days to create the Guy for the Sparks in the Park bonfire – but he'll be reduced to ash in minutes.

One of the most colourful nights in the city, Norwich's annual fireworks extravaganza, returns to Earlham Park with a bang on Saturday.

Led by Norwich City Council's events team and supported by the Eastern Daily Press and Heart 102.4FM, it boasts two firework displays, live music and a fun fair, attracting a crowd of thousands.

And one of the highlights of the event is the traditional bonfire and the burning of the Guy, which is being created by Tin House.

The names Ali Mackenzie and Tim Tracey might not be instantly familiar, but if you've ever been to one of the big community events in Norwich such as the Lord Mayor's Celebration, the Dragon Festival or, indeed Sparks in the Park, it's likely you'll have seen their work, much of it created with local schools and community groups.


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Some of it is dotted around their cavernous workshop, which is tucked away on a trading estate in Bowthorpe: the head of a puppet from the Lord Mayor's procession of a few summers back, some of the Roy Lichtenstein pop art inspired lanterns from last year's Sparks in the Park and a larger-than-life skeleton being prepared to take part in a Halloween parade.

And in the middle of the floor is a huge wooden structure which will form the backbone of the Guy on Saturday.

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Ali and Tim are keeping their plans for what the Guy will look like under wraps so as not to spoil the surprise on the night.

But youngsters from Colman Junior School in Norwich have been involved in the project, recording the chant 'remember remember the fifth of November...' which will be played on a loop to soundtrack the ritual.

Ali is originally from Hunstanton and she and Tim, who has a background in theatre, moved back to Norfolk from London in 1998 when they started their family.

'It's a nice place to be with a family,' Ali says. This is the seventh Guy they have created for Sparks in the Park, but how do they feel when they see all those hours of hard work going up in smoke?

'We've always built things to burn. I actually really like it and it's part of the process.

'I like the performance element,' Ali says.

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