THE final flight checks are underway as birdmen and women from across the nation prepare for take-off in Worthing this weekend.
That’s right, the International Birdman competition will be blasting off once more from Worthing Pier from Saturday (August 15).
The two-day bonanza will see competitors leaping for glory off the pier and into the sea – with some aiming to scoop the jackpot or simply raise some much-needed cash for a worthy cause.
One of those bracing themselves for the plunge is first-time birdman Craig Searle, of Church Green, Shoreham.
The 19-year-old civil engineering undergraduate is hoping his leap will raise vital cash for the Friends of Shoreham Fort.
Craig said: “I just hope I will make a big enough splash. I don’t know what I will be thinking before I leap. I’ve watched it before and it’s always had a really great atmosphere.”
The former St Andrew’s High School student has so far raised £70 for Shoreham Fort but hopes his leap will see a last-minute boost.
The event will officially open on Saturday, from 12.15pm, with the second day’s festivities launching from 12.45pm on Sunday.
The spectacle will be split into two categories, fun fliers and serious competitors – many of whom will have built their own flying contraptions in an effort to glide at least 100m.
Last year’s action saw Ron Freeman making headlines around the world after he flew an impressive 159.4m, smashing the 100m challenge distance that had stood for over 30 years.
Ron walked away with the jackpot prize of £10,000 and is back in this year to see if he can win again.
Tony Hughes also managed to fly more than 100m last year with a great distance of 117.1m and he has his eyes on the top prize.
As well as getting the chance to watch people dive off the pier, there will be plenty of other sights for revellers to take in.
On Sunday the Xtreme Action Jet Ski Display team will be returning. There will also be a flyboard demonstration.
Comperes for the weekend are Dave Hunt and former British kitesurfing champion, Lewis Crathern.
The day is organised by Worthing Town Centre Initiative and sponsored by Stagecoach.
To sponsor Craig, see www.sponsorme.co.uk/craigsearle
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