IAN HART: Safe flight to everyone taking part in Birdman this weekend

Ian Hart
Ian Hart

Another one of those weekends beckons which puts Worthing in a positive light, with the return of the legendary Birdman Rally.

The event is now in its eight year in Worthing after former venue Bognor Regis Pier was deemed unfit to host the competition due to health and safety issues in 2008, involving water depth and diving regulations.

By the time Bognor Pier was passed fit to host again it became clear that, however nice a resort it is – and I love an 80’s weekender at Butlins as much as the next man – Worthing did Birdman bigger and better.

Much of the credit for the ongoing success of the event must go to Worthing Town Centre Initiative manager Sharon Clarke, who, along with great support from Worthing Borough Council and West Sussex County Council, has worked tirelessly on the event for almost a decade.

But for me it’s not only just about the ‘birdmen’ and all the thousands of pounds they raise for very worthy local and national charities, it’s the atmosphere it brings to the whole seafront and, perhaps equally as important, the impact on the local economy.

With attendance estimates approaching 15,000 on each day, that’s a lot of people in and around the pier, and however little or much they individually spend it’s all helping local businesses.

I take my hat off to anyone brave enough to enter.

I certainly wouldn’t enter it, and wish all of this year’s contestants all the very best, particularly my two friends, nephew and uncle, Jeremy Ransom and Chris Oakley, who return after previously having ‘flown’ in 2008.

Their theme this year is Back to the Future, taking on the guises of Marty McFly and Doc Brown and departing the pier in a custom built DeLorean. Fans of the films will know that when Marty travelled forward in time it was to October 21, 2015, hence the specific theme this year.

I’ve sponsored them for their chosen charity, the very worthy cause of the Queen Alexandra Hospital Home, again very apt with this weekend’s national celebrations of VJ day.

So, along with all the other birdmen and women, have a safe flight gents...

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