INTERNATIONAL Bognor Birdman is a force for good around the world.
The zany antics of the fliers often hide a serious fundraising message to mean the cheques come in long after the cheers have died away.
Caroline Ainsley wanted to help African children to receive a top-quality education so they could become mathematics teachers and raise the earnings of their fellow citizens.
Closer to home, Stephen Bennett was raising funds and awareness for Sepsis UK. This charity hopes to save 13,500 lives a year by informing people of the effects of septicemia and blood poisoning.
Dorset resident Lee Davey was, however, thwarted in his bid to fulfil his ambition of more than 40 years to become a Birdman. He has harboured the desire to jump off Bognor Regis Pier since he was a small boy. His son had created a cardboard caravan for him to use as a flying device to raise money for an Alzheimer’s charity. But the large rise and fall of the waves meant it was in vain as the rest of the event was cancelled just after 2.30pm on Sunday before he was due to take off.
BBC radio and TV presenter Jon Cuthill did manage to get off the ramp but it was more of a dive than a flight. He had spent more than a week creating his magnificent flying machine only to find it didn’t fit into his expected form of transport.
A last minute donation of a lorry enabled him to get on the road to Bognor Regis to raise money for Children in Need. His exploits will be seen on the Inside Out South TV programme next Monday.
On the shore, Nathan Smither’s Gary Barlow tribute act helped to keep the crowds entertaiined by mentioning his personal feelings and sentiments on each song and plenty of audience interaction.
The Wonder Girls, The Regis Troopers, singer Stacey Turner and the Birdman Buskers also entertained the crowds over the two days. There were plenty of other attractions on the promenade as well from Peppa Pig to children’s rides, stalls, displays and face painting.