Hastings Pirate Day returns in July with a huge event to celebrate its tenth anniversary.
Hastings has earned the name ‘Pirate Capital of the World’ after smashing the world record for the most pirates in one place.
But how many people know how it first started.
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Now organiser Roger Crouch has revealed its origins.
He said: “It all started as an idea to fill the blank Friday of Old Town Carnival week.
“I had worked successfully with stunt action specialists on a Pirate show in Windsor a few years before so put the idea forward and worked alongside Hastings Old Town traders to produce the first Pirate Day in 2009.
“I did the posters on my £50 printer inviting people to be part of Jack Sparrows crew.
I didn’t know if we would get three people and a dog but my great friend Norman Race said on the day: “You’ve unleashed the Beast.”
Nikki Parker has been with me every year since. The community and visitors in their thousands are the reason for the huge success of Pirate Day ever since that humble beginning . The rest as they say is history.
Commenting on next year’s big event, which takes place on Sunday July 14, Roger added: “I firmly believe in Hastings Pirate Day and wholeheartedly thank those who supported the event financially.
“As long as I am involved, it will be a spectacle for all ages. If you are six months old in a buggy with a striped t-shirt and a drawn on moustache, or a full-blown adult buccaneer - you are a pirate.
“We are producing a colourful brochure to commemorate ten years of Pirate Day. All profits will go to keeping Pirate Day a true family event.”
Reflecting on Pirate Day, Alan Griffiths said: “The year of the still unbeaten world record was amazing. Buses full of pirates. Postman pirates. Police motorcycles with Pirate flags.
“If you weren’t dressed as a pirate you looked out of place.
“I was running the Stag Inn at the time, in All Saints Street, and we watched the steady procession of pirates coming into town. Many young family’s with mum and kids dressed up and self conscious dads not quite in the spirit. Double decker buses from Lydd full of pirates.
“I performed with the Hastings Shanty Singers, and friends, on the main stage. From the size of the crowd we knew we’d blown Penzance out of the water, big time. I didn’t even manage to get counted as the gates closed before I could get in. 14,000 plus for the count, another couple of thousand watching and gawd knows how many in the pubs.
“I’ve been involved in every one since 2009, I was responsible for instigating the unofficial one in 2014, when it rained heavily all day.
“Hastings Pirate Day has always been fun, been inclusive, been fit for family entertainment and been of benefit to the town in general.
“One man has been behind the continuing success of the event. One man has put his hand in his own pocket to ensure the event takes place. One man has not personally profited from the event. So a big thank you to Roger for seeing the event happen and for unselfishly making it happen for the majority of its ten year history. Let’s make it the best ever.”