A PLEA for flyers to help get a Bognor Regis event off the ground has been made.
Organisers of the International Bognor Birdman Rally have appealed for would-be flyers to come to their aid and help make the splash-tastic event a success.
Event chairman Barry Jones said: “We would ask at this time that local residents, shop keepers and everyone else come to our aid to make up numbers as we do not want a barren event.
“The only requirement is to have the courage to jump 20ft into the sea, the ability to swim and a sense of humour.
“Any old dress or costume will do.”
This year’s event has also been hampered by funding shortages.
But a successful traditional jazz evening held last Sunday has given the competition’s coffers a boost.
The Louisiana Jazzman entertained the audience with their tuneful tones.
“We would also like to thank our helpers who manned the bar, coffee counter and the kitchen and also ran a raffle which raised in excess of £90 towards the preliminary total of £460 to help towards the Birdman event which is critically short of funds,” said Mr Jones.
As reported in the Observer in February, cutbacks in grants left organisers with a £7,000 shortfall.
The average cost of staging the weekend has been £18,000 since the present committee took over in 2004.
The Birdman rally, which sees flyers take an dip off the town’s pier dates back to 1978.
Often dressed in some wacky attire, the plucky Kingfisher entrants take their leap of faith off the pier while trying to raise cash and awareness for their chosen charities
This year, Kingfishers who impress the most will receive a higher stake of the prize money.
First place will get £750, second place £500 and third £250.
For the Condor and Leonardo da Vinci classes it is a chance for the more serious contenders to see how far their flying machines can take them.
Last year’s event attracted entrants from India and the USA to prove its wide appeal.
Entrants to the event are also invited to a free meet and greet event at the Jeneses community centre in Linden Road on July 12 and an evening meal at the Robin Hood, in Shripney, the following evening.
For more information and entry forms contact Mr and Mrs Jones on 01243 868174 or 63 Victoria Drive, Bognor Regis, PO21 2TD.
You can also visit the competition’s website at www.birdman.org.uk.