SOUTHAMPTON went pumpkin-mad at a festival in support of tall ships charity the Jubilee sailing Trust.

Prize specimens and pumpkin art were displayed and more than 30 varieties of the autumn fruit were auctioned at the event in the Royal Victoria Country Park, Netley, on Saturday.

Hundreds of people flocked to the park's chapel for the five-hour festival opened by Southampton mayor Peter Wakeford and town crier Jack Hibberd.

A best pumpkin competition attracted more than 30 entries. They ranged from bite-sized beauties to 400lb monsters and entries for a pumpkin art contest included a pumpkin sculpture in the form of a porcupine to more traditional Halowe'en lanterns.

The Winchester Wine Circle brought along pumpkin wine they had made and people were invited to sample dishes from pumpkin jams to muffins and flans in a recipe challenge.

Hampshire firms donated prizes worth more than £250 for competition winners.

John Davison, chairman of the Jubilee Sailing Trust's Southampton branch, said: "Pumpkin festivals are very big in America and we thought it would be a fun idea to try it out here.

"Following the good response this year, we are antipicating and expecting to make it a permanent fixture in Southampton.

"Everyone really seemed to enter into the spirit of the day and many children turned up in pumpkin costumes on the spur of the moment to join in the fun."

The Southampton-based Jubilee Sailing Trust offers sailing opportunities on tall ships to both disabled and able-bodied people. The event raised £700 towards the upkeep of the trust's ships and the cost of its new vessel Tenacious.