Hundreds gather for annual orange and lemon flingathon

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CITRUS fruits were launched across Worthing beach on Sunday to commemorate the anniversary of a famous fruit wreck.

Around 250 people flung oranges and lemons at the annual flingathon to mark the 1901 collision of the Indiana, which saw tens of thousands of citrus fruits wash onto the shore.

Worthing Flingathon. Picture by Eddie Mitchell SUS-150203-095804001

Worthing Flingathon. Picture by Eddie Mitchell SUS-150203-095804001

The annual event was organised by Worthing journalist Paul Holden, raising money for Offington Paralympic tennis hopeful Lauren Jones.

In a speech to the crowds, Mr Holden said: “In March 1901, the same day as today, the Indiana ran aground about a mile off Worthing Pier. It had collided with another vessel in the Channel.

“The Indiana was carrying tens of thousands of oranges and lemons. There was a huge gash in the hold and the cargo spilt out and washed ashore. Where you see pebbles, in 1901, you saw oranges and lemons.

“The whole town took the week off work. The schools were empty, nobody did a day’s work – they were all down here pinching the fruit.”

Unusually warm conditions greeted participants, with a zingy citrus scent in the sea breeze as the fruit was tossed across the sands.

Mayor Vic Walker thwacked the first orange with a cricket bat, commemorating the 2008 Ice Prince wood wreck, when thousands of tons of timber washed ashore.

Several rounds of slinging followed, with children and adults aiming to throw their fruit the furthest.