New date set for Bognor Birdman

BIRDMEN will be taking an autumn amble in the sky off Bognor Regis pier.

Some 40 competitors could take part in the re-scheduled staging of this year’s International Bognor Birdman competition on October 1. They will be flying from 1.15pm to 3.15pm during high tide.

Probably the latest staging of the popular event in the 30-plus years it has been held off the beach was decided by the organising committee of volunteers at a meeting last week.

Committee chairman Barry Jones said: “We will be staging the Kingfisher competition only off the end of the pier.

“There will not be any scaffolding, but we still expect it to be quite a spectacle. We think we will get more than 40 competitors taking part.

“Most of them are being sponsored so they will be able to tell their sponsors they have taken part and collect their money. We just have to keep our fingers crossed the weather will be better.”

The re-arranged date is needed because strong winds battered the seafront when the 2011 Birdman was due to be held on July 16 and 17. Competitors and spectators went away disappointed but resigned to the uncertainties of the British summer.

“There were no grumbles at all,” said Mr Jones. “Four coachloads arrived from London and I had to tell them our decision as they were getting off.

“Everyone just accepted the decision, for which we were very grateful. I hope they spent some money around the town so at least some businesses benefited from what happened.”

A new date of August bank holiday Monday was initially suggested, but this has been ruled out because of arranging police cover at the busy time.

October 1 is the next Sunday when the tide will be high enough for the Birdmen.

Mr Jones said a first children’s paper aeroplane competition would be held on the re-arranged date. Entertainers who want to perform on the wide promenade next to the pier on the new date will be welcome. But a full schedule of events is unlikely.