Worthing Birdman contest grounded indefinitely

Five of the Best Jumps from the Worthing International Birdman Contest

One of Britain's traditionally eccentric annual events, the Worthing International Birdman contest, has been cancelled indefinitely, its organisers have announced.

The spectacle of men and women in home-made machines or costumes flinging themselves from a platform on Worthing Pier in West Sussex has pleased summer crowds for years.

A £10,000 prize was due to be offered to the daredevil who could fly the furthest over 100m from the Victorian pier into the English Channel in this year's contest.

But the rising costs of staging the event and the absence of significant sponsorship has led the organiser, the Worthing Town Centre Initiative (WTCI), to now scrap it indefinitely.

WTCI chairman Chris Spratt said: "The WTCI feel it's time to stop our investment while the event is on a high and turn our funds and resources to other town centre projects."

The WTCI has organised the event for the past eight years, helping attract thousands of visitors to the resort.

Mr Spratt added: "Of course, it may be that some other organisation may choose to take on the event."