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New look Birdman

A FIRST Pride festival is to take place in Bognor Regis this summer.


The two-day celebration of diversity is set to be held in August as part of a revamped International Bognor Birdman, backed by Post Newspapers.


The birdmen and women will be flying off the town’s pier for only one day in contrast to the weekend-long launches of recent years.


But the spare day will be filled by the second day of the free Pride weekend.


The initial details of the occasion for all the family were revealed in a letter to Bognor Regis Town Council in advance of a meeting on Monday.


The Birdman organisers asked the town council to allow its £7,500 grant to be used for the new weekend instead of the Birdman-only occasion expected when the award was made last November.


This was agreed by the members of the council’s policy and resources committee.


Cllr Jan Cosgrove (L, Orchard) said: “If this is how the organisers feel the event has to survive, then we have to trust them. We should welcome the development and say we are happy to support it.


“This widens the scope of the weekend and is able to attract a wider audience from along the south coast, particularly to the east where people might go to Brighton Pride.”


Committee chairman Cllr Adam Cunard (I, Pevensey) said: “The Birdman had become very stretched over two days. Pulling it back to one day, and putting on entertainment all weekend, will give the event a fresher feel because it had got a bit tired.”


International Bognor Birdman was cancelled last summer because of a lack of funding. The intention then was to make up for the lost year by extending activities from the seafront into the town centre to create another entertainment zone.


A statement from the organisers to the town council explaining the change says: “Birdman will be going ahead this year as an attraction in an altogether bigger and more diverse event.”


“The whole event is Pride and will take place over the two days. However, Birdman will only be happening on the Sunday.


“Pride itself has asked for no funding from the town council at this point and promises to be a huge event focusing on individuality, equality and inclusion and will celebrate every aspect of our community including families, those with disabilities, the LGBT community.


“Moving forward, these two events will always run side by side.”


Daredevil Birdmen have made the leap of faith off Bognor Regis Pier, with some breaks, since 1978. The event began in Selsey seven years earlier.

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