Monday, July 28, 2008
Weston-super-Mare fire expert misunderstood “end-of-the-pier spectacle”
Holidaymakers in the seaside town of Weston-supe-Mare today awoke to find the cataclysmic results of a misunderstanding during the planning of celebratory events to mark the re-opening of Weston-supe-Mare's world famous Grand Pier.
“I am not taking the fall for this one. It's just a genuine misunderstanding, ” said event pyrotechnics expert Kenneth Billingsworth. “When I was hired they told me they wanted something really special for the end-of-the-pier. Something that would say to everyone that the pier really was finished.”
The historic Grand Pier, today consumed by a raging inferno, was originally constructed in 1904 and had just undergone a multi-million pound refurbishment which the landmark event was planned to celebrate.
“You tell me that wasn't spectacular! Look at the result, everyone knows that pier really is well and truly finished now,” explained Billingsworth.
Kenneth Billingsworth, 58, was only recently hired by North Somerset council in an outreach programme to encourage older members of society with many years of experience to rejoin the workforce, and it is a policy that the local mayor thinks may have to be re-evaluated.
“Given that today was the first day on the job for our new pyrotechnics consultant and that by lunchtime we had lost our most significant tourist attraction” said a spokesman for the mayor's office. “It is fair to say our recruitment programme may need some review, but we will proceed onwards ensuring that there is no discrimination against those who have been unable to work for many years. Kenneth came with huge amounts of experience and a CV of previous fire related work as long as your arm.”
Mr Billingsworth, who previously went by the professional nickname of 'Kindling' due to his role in starting fires, echoed that the first placements by the programme may have some teething troubles.
“The day was great. It's been a few years since I have smelt that intoxicating mix of cold night air and kerosene. The screws kept me well away from that sort of stuff, what with all my previous.” he said from under a blanket as he was bundled into a police van, “I think they might need to re-think the programme though, especially as they have just hired my brother Tony 'The Spanner' for his many years of expertise in door-to-door insurance collection.”
When asked if the worldwide attention and the likelihood of serving a further five years in prison as a result of today's events, had deterred Mr Billingsworth from resuming his career, 'Kindling' was undaunted.
“You'll never stop me!” he shrieked through wire grating as he was driven through a mob of angry ice-cream sellers. “There will always be trouble when there is arson around.”
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