Cliffe Bonfire Society, Lewes
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Rules & Structure of the Society

Constitutional History

Growing member numbers and growing regulation meant that it was no longer possible to continue as an unincorporated body. At the time we were hoping to establish a licensed club along the lines of the Royal British Legion, the Working Mens Club and the Constitutional Club so we followed their lead and incorporated as an Industrial and Provident Society.

Over the years the numbers of these societies diminished nationally and about 15 years ago the government transferred them on block to the Charities Commission. The Commission soon decided that it did not want the burden of these Societies unless they were able to demonstrate charitable credentials. Although we tried hard to convince them the Commission saw through the smoke and mirrors and strongly suggested that we transfer to Companies House.

In the act of making this transfer our main considerations were to protect our assets from claims/losses and to protect the society from malevolent take-overs.

After much research and seeking professional advise we opted for a holding company/trading company structure so that the former would not be responsible for claims/losses arising from trading (i.e. bonfire and other activities). We chose a company limited by guarantee as the holding company so that there were no shares to be highjacked and, because no one owned the company, it could continue in perpetuity.

Below are links to support this History and the articles that as a company we are governed by:

Brightnight Ltd - Memorandum and Articles of Association

Cliffe Bonfire Ltd - Memorandum and Articles of Association

Companies (Tables A-F) Regulations 1985

Rules of Cliffe Bonfire Society (Feb 2009)