Hoist the sails, marauders plan to pinch our world record

Pirate Day organiser, Roger Crouch, with Pirates. 6/8/10''IF THIS PHOTO IS USED,  MUST CREDIT MATT STABELER
Pirate Day organiser, Roger Crouch, with Pirates. 6/8/10''IF THIS PHOTO IS USED, MUST CREDIT MATT STABELER

A PARADE of pesky pantalooned plunderers from Penzance are planning on pinching Hastings’s pirate prize.

Just last year more than 6,000 locals donned an eye patch and picked up their cutlasses to help the town smash the Guinness World Record for most pirates ever in one place.

The day, which was the brainchild of Jolly Roger Crouch, put Hastings on the map and saw our corner of 1066 Country - more famous for Harold and stray arrows - declared the pirate capital of the world.

Now though, a crew of cutlass carrying Cornwalians are intent on beating our record – and have fired the first shot across the bows in what could turn into an annual pirate war.

Clare Trevaskis is organising the attempt for June this year and is confident of stealing our crown.

Speaking this week she said: “The record is 6,166 at present held by those scurvy dogs Hastings but we can beat them.

“Cornwall is after all the home of the pirate - and not just the singing kind.”

However, the Observer contacted Hastings’s own pirate king – Roger Crouch – who remained defiant in the face of this fresh challenge.

He said: “I wish them the best of luck but others have tried to take us on and failed.

“I think it is great fun that they are trying for the record and it will be interesting to see how they do - I know first hand how difficult it can be to organise such an event.

“Whatever the outcome, it is great that people now see Hastings as the pirate town to beat and I think after last year’s record-breaking day, other pirate towns around the world are now running scared of us.”

Captain Crouch has already started plans for this year’s Pirate Day, which will take place on Friday, August 5, and promises it will be “bigger and better” than previous salty shindigs.

As usual the day will include pirate demonstrations, a fancy dress parade and other seadog-themed fun and Captain Crouch is promising a special surprise which he says could rival last year’s triumph.

For the time being though he is remaining tight-lipped and, should the attempt in Cornwall prove successful, the town will not be able to mobilise a response in time for this year’s gathering.

But, Captain Crouch said Hastings would always be number one as long as he remained seaworthy.

He said: “If Penzance does manage to beat us, we will make sure we take it back next year.”

It is unlikely Penzance would expect anything less from the true pirate capital.

- The lads and lassies of 1066 Country have already been proving their pirate colours as part of the Observer’s latest competition. Turn to page 48 of this week’s paper to see their drawings of buccaneers.