DOZENS of youngsters braved hail, snow and gale force winds to take part in a beach boat bash.

More than 80 children took to the water off Manningtree beach for the event put on by new water sports charity My Blue Pass on Saturday, May 4.

The charity has 140 young members who were given the opportunity to try out dinghies, kayaks and paddle boards and taken out on the river in motor launches in challenging conditions.

For the beach bash Quay Street was closed to traffic and the town was decorated with flags and bunting.

The whole community, including the fire brigade, the air cadets, local scouts, and the employees of local company Vanguard all gave up their free time to help.

During the event the younger children were entertained by Punch and Judy and magician Chris Maine.

The two winners of the best dressed pirate competition were four-year-old Samuel Francis, from Lawford and six-year-old Holly Vincent, from Wrabness.

Samuel’s family won a complementary day out at Colchester Zoo and Holly’s family won a meal for a family at Lucca’s in Manningtree.

A raffle was also held and won by James Garrad who runs the burger van in Manningtree.

Garron Baines, chair of My Blue Pass, said:“These young people through their enthusiasm and excitement proved to the community the demand for young people to get out and have fun on the water and to learn the skills of sailing and kayaking.

"We are planning taster sessions throughout the summer to make water sports a central part of family life on the River Stour celebrating our beautiful surroundings.

"We would like to thank every one for helping to make the event such a success.

"It was fabulous to see so many young people having fun and prepare for a lifetime of water sports."