Chris Pugh dressed as Doctor Who and raised more than £1,000 for Hospice in the Weald, though his cardboard TARDIS was blown back down the pier before he reached the water. Peter Coppinger-Parker from Danehill and Lee De la Rue Browne from Haywards Heath proved they both had the ‘force’ when they entertained crowds on Worthing beach by jumping as Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. They had a brilliant day out and their light-saber duel was a real hit with the crowd but they could not jump with their TIE Fighter and X-Wing models because the wind was just a little too strong. The pair raised more than £1,000 for Guild Care’s Ashdown Centre, in Ashdown Road, Worthing.
Sharon Clarke, Worthing town centre manager and organiser of the event, said footfall on the Saturday was up by 6,000 from the previous year, despite flights being cancelled by 1pm owing to strong winds. And the Sunday, which saw amateurs and serious flyers leap from the pier in glorious sunshine, attracted impressive crowds of more than 12,000. All across Worthing, traders received a boost from the competition and the event’s activities, including a jet-ski display and singing performances, kept visitors in the area longer than in previous years.
An error on a sign caused chaos in several of Worthing’s car parks, as drivers wrongly feared they were getting a bad deal. NCP had introduced a cut-rate offer with a £5 maximum charge to coincide with Birdman but the misleading sign made it look like this was a flat rate. Drivers who wanted only a short stay at a much cheaper price began reversing in unison down the ramps in the Grafton Road car park when they saw the sign.