‘Jolly’ Roger returns to head up Hastings Pirate Day

Roger Crouch at Pirate Day in 2012. Picture by Tony Coombes Photography
Roger Crouch at Pirate Day in 2012. Picture by Tony Coombes Photography

Ahoy, me hearties! The man behind the hugely successful Pirate Day festivities in town is returning.

‘Jolly’ Roger Crouch, who dreamed up the idea six years ago, has decided to take up the helm again and promises 2016’s celebrations will be bigger and better than ever.

Roger left last year for pastures new and handed over the organisation of Pirate Day to the Old Town Traders.

Last year’s event drew in thousands of pirates and sea dogs to town but this year only saw an unofficial gathering, hampered by bad weather.

Roger said: “I was quite sad to see Pirate Day turn into an unofficial day this year.

“The event should befit what we are, the pirate capital of the world.

“The event needs leadership, organisation and a vision, as well as a point of contact for the emergency services.”

Pirate Day started in 2009 when Roger was invited by Jackie Pratt, from Penbuckles, to a meeting of the High Street traders to decide ideas for the Friday of Old Town Week.

In August, 2010, 6,166 pirates smashed the then world record by gathering on Pelham Beach.

In June, 2011, pesky pirates from Penzance took Hastings’ crown, packing in 8,734 people dressed as privateers, sea dogs and buccaneers on its prom. However, Hastings took back the world record in July, 2012, when 14,231 pirates gathered on the beach.

Roger added: “I’m looking forward to coming back and am very proud of what has been achieved since the first Pirate Day in 2009.

“I’ve worked with some amazing people over the years and hope to again. I’m coming back to Pirate Day with the same enthusiasm and vision as before.

“It’s such a great event for the town, both for the community and the economy.

“Next year, I want to take the event through to St Leonards as well to make it a truly town-wide event. It deserves to be.

“I would like to thank everyone who has kept Pirate Day alive in the meantime.”

Next year’s Pirate Day has already been penned in for Sunday, July 17.

This year, Roger was behind Shipwreck Isle, a pirate-themed event held at the Isle of Wight Festival of the Sea.

Roger also organises the Roaring 20s event in Bexhill. This year the town shimmied its way into the record books, smashing the record for the World’s Largest Charleston Dance. A grand total of 503 enthusiastic flappers danced to a five-minute routine on the seafront by the De La Warr Pavilion.

The dancers beat the previous record of 356 held by the Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon region of New South Wales, Australia.

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