FOR once the seagulls were challenged for mastery of the skies above Southampton.

The 17th annual Southampton Kite Festival saw hundreds swooping, fluttering and occasionally crashing into the ground at Lordshill Recreation Ground.

They ranged from sophisticated stunt kites to the basic designs on the end of a piece of string, from little ones catching the breeze eight feet up to those soaring to 60ft or 70ft.

Workshops were held giving children and their parents the chance to make their own kites to fly.

The event was organised by the Solent Kite Flyers. Chairman Roger Backhouse said: “We have been fighting the weather, unfortunately, but most people have enjoyed it.

“It’s an exciting sport. It’s therapeutic. Kids can fully do it and we have some members over 70.”

Mr Backhouse said the workshops had seen about 400 of the little blue kites with yellow streamers made over the weekend.

For the first time the festival coincided with the annual visit of the Charles Cole Funfair at the park off Redbridge Lane.

The Solent Kite Flyers hope to organise the event next year but are appealing for more members as group numbers have recently dropped to just 20, said Mr Backhouse.