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Pictures: Ilfracombe packed for ‘best ever’ birdman

PUBLISHED: 21:38 01 August 2015 | UPDATED: 21:53 01 August 2015

Ilfracombe Birdman 2015. Picture: Andy Keeble

Ilfracombe Birdman 2015. Picture: Andy Keeble

Archant

Magnificent men and women in their flying machines draw huge crowds to town.

Thousands of people descended on Ilfracombe today (Saturday) for the South West Birdman Competition.

Birdwatchers flocked to the harbour for the annual display of ornithological daring – surely one of the busiest in the event’s 10-year history.

Those unable to get a good view of the action from the quay grabbed whatever perch they could on Lantern Hill or St James’ Park.

Others enjoyed ringside seats on one of a number of boats bobbing in the entrance of the harbour.

Ilfracombe Birdman 2015. Picture: Andy Keeble Ilfracombe Birdman 2015. Picture: Andy Keeble

After a brief shower – and minor microphone malfunction – birdmen and women took to the platform to shake their tail feathers in early evening August sunshine.

They then took to the air – albeit briefly – before splashing down and being ushered to the quay steps by waiting safely crews.

Organiser Ilfracombe Round Table waived the entrance fee this year but will be delighted with the turnout.

Families enjoyed a host of all-day entertainment on the pier, with live music; a cider and ale festival; a farm Olympics event; circus workshops; craft stalls; games; bouncy castles; barbecue; and much more.

Ilfracombe Birdman 2015. Picture: Andy Keeble Ilfracombe Birdman 2015. Picture: Andy Keeble

Speaking to the Gazette before the event, Marc Newland of Ilfracombe Round Table, said: “Birdman is the busiest day in Ilfracombe’s calendar, so we wanted to encourage as many people as possible to enjoy the whole day.

“It is certainly a leap of faith making the event free to enter, because it’s so expensive to put on and the small admission price was a large source of income for this charity event.

“But we hope that by making it free, we will get a lot more support from people who will come and enjoy the whole day and buy a beer from our bar or a burger from our barbecue.”

See more reaction in Wednesday’s Gazette.

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