HE countdown to this year’s Worthing Birdman is on and people from across the town are getting ready for the big jump.
On July 12 and 13, thousands of people from across the county will gather to watch the participants propel themselves from the end of the Worthing Pier.
For many participants, the annual event represents a chance to do something fun while also raising money for a charity close to their heart.
Daniel Gilmore, a music teacher, and Kit Bradshaw, a performer, are taking flight to raise money for Worthing Mencap and the associated cafe Buddys.
The pair will jump dressed in pink shirts and wigs as a nod to the Mencap colour.
They have also created a two-minute dance routine to do before the jump, which consists of a mash up of Swan Lake, a Hawaiian hula, and disco.
Mr Gilmore, 44, from A’Becket Gardens in Durrington, said: “I always wanted to do the Birdman and I thought that this was an opportunity to have fun and raise some money. The whole point is to make money for something I am really passionate about.”
Also taking part in the event are Nicky Ledger, of Marlowe Road, Broadwater, and cousin Adam Durrant, who are raising money for the Worthing-based group Parents for Autism, a monthly support group for parents of children with autism.
Mrs Ledger, 43, said: “We are going as the Pink Lady and T-Birds from Grease – we are going to dance to Grease Lightning before we jump.
“I am very nervous.”
A veteran of the Worthing Birdman, Damen Hodgson, 31, is taking the plunge off the pier for his third year in a row.
He and friend, Paul Southwood, are making the jump for the Rockinghorse charity, which raises money for children’s hospitals across Sussex.
Mr Hodgson, of Lennox Muse, Worthing, said: “The reason I do it for them is because my youngest daughter had surgery at the Royal Alexandra, who they raise money for, about 18 months ag,o so I thought it would be nice to give something back.”
While it is for a serious cause, Mr Hodgson said that the day would be fun, and the pair will be dressed as Ghostbusters characters, complete with inflatable Proton Packs.
He said: “We are going to do a bit of acting and a bit of dancing before attempting to fly.”
Speech and language therapist Joyanne Williamson, of Dominion Road, Worthing, is also taking part, and is representing two organisations close to her heart, the Worthing Kids and Dapper Snapper (WKDS) charity who organise group activities for children with disabilities, and Mumpreneurs Networking Club.
She said: “I am nervous but also looking forward to it. It is something I have never done before.
“These children face challenges on a daily basis so I think I can deal with this.”
Ms Williamson and a friend will be dressed as a monkey and a mermaid, but aren’t going to be dancing.
She said: “No I am not dancing, definitely not - my outfit is scary enough, I do not need to dance too!”
Worthing Birdman takes place on July 12, from 11.30am, and July 13, from midday.
Meanwhile, children from across West Sussex are being encouraged to let their imaginations fly, by designing a picture of an ultimate flying machine.
Drawings of any size will be accepted. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org