Gallery: Bathing beauties brighten up Felixstowe

A BEAUTY pageant provided a flashback to a bygone age at Felixstowe seafront yesterday with two TV stars joining the fun.

Elliot Furniss

A BEAUTY pageant provided a flashback to a bygone age at Felixstowe seafront yesterday with two TV stars joining the fun.

The town's Edwardian Extravaganza saw hundreds of people flock to the resort to enjoy some traditional seaside entertainment.

Leading the festivities were TV personality Duncan Bannatyne, of Dragons' Den fame, and former Blue Peter presenter Zoe Salmon, who acted as judges for the highlight of the day - a bathing beauty contest.

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Entrants donned 1950s-style swimming costumes and paraded up and down a catwalk set up along the promenade, before the 60-year-old millionaire and the Dancing on Ice contestant picked out their favourite - with a little help from an excited crowd.

Miss Salmon, herself a former beauty queen and Miss Northern Ireland, said she was delighted to spend time at a “picture postcard” resort.

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She said: “It's so nice to be here in Felixstowe. I'd never really been here or heard much other than about the port so it's great to come and explore here.

“The girls were brilliant - they all looked fantastic and the whole vintage look, the 50s style, well, they just really embraced it.

“I think it's absolutely beautiful here and I'm really blown away. It's just like a big picture postcard.”

Mr Bannatyne, who has been filming a television show charting his bid to get more people to holiday along the British coastline, said he was pleased to be asked to judge the contest.

He said: “It's great to see Felixstowe like this. The weather has been great and a lot of people who have come here today won't have been here before.

“The whole event has been fantastic and very successful - I don't think anybody can complain.”

The winner on the day was 32-year-old businesswoman Dibbs Middleditch, who runs a photography service in the town with her husband.

She said: “It was good fun and something I have never done before and it's something in life I can tick the box off and say 'I've done that'.

“There were so many mums from school that I see in the playground and my customers and family in the crowd. I'm glad I entered - I won, and that was unexpected but nice.”

Mrs Middleditch was congratulated on the stage by her proud daughter Laani, six, who said her mum looked “so good” as she picked up her trophy.

Mr Bannatyne said she was a “very worthy winner” who was an inspiration to other girls while Miss Salmon said all the entrants had been “brilliant” and picking a winner had been a tough decision.

Also part of yesterday's entertainment was a gripping tug-of-war competition, a performance from the Hasbeens skiffle band and some traditional storytelling.

A punch and Judy stand was set up on the promenade and there was also a hog roast stall, face painting stand and lots of people donning traditional clothing to create a fun and authentic atmosphere.

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