Page last updated at 15:54 GMT, Friday, 9 May 2008 16:54 UK

New venue saves Birdman contest

Bognor Birdman contest
Thousands of spectators watch the Birdman contest

A 37-year-old flying contest will go ahead after its organisers secured a new venue.

The Birdman competition, which has been held in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, for 29 years, will take place in Worthing for the first time this year.

The competition had been cancelled on safety grounds after a 60ft (18m) section of Bognor Pier was demolished in March.

It will now take place at Worthing Pier on July 5 and 6.

Jim Brooks, of the Bognor Birdman Trust, which organises the competition, said their main aim was to make sure it could go ahead this year.


"Obviously we're gutted that we can't hold the competition in Bognor Regis but we're also delighted it can continue at Worthing," he said.

The relocated event will be organised by Worthing Town Centre Initiative in conjunction with West Sussex Council and the Bognor Birdman Trust.

Sharon Clarke, Worthing Town Centre manager, said: "We're absolutely delighted, we'd like to thank the Bognor Trust for working with us and for making the contest what it is today."

Local businesses have donated 10,000, while Worthing County local committee has pledged 15,000 to the event, which costs between 25,000 and 30,000.

"We see this as a major investment," said Councillor John Livermore.

"This is a headline-hitting event - one that always creates extensive national interest in the media," he added.

Brighton had also shown an interest in staging the contest, which began as the International Birdman Rally at Selsey, West Sussex, in 1971, before moving to Bognor Regis in 1978.

Thousands of spectators watch as contestants run off the end of the pier in winged contraptions in an attempt to stay airborne for the longest distance.

The water at Worthing Pier has been tested to ensure it is a safe depth for the competition.

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