Hang glider’s £60k bill after legal fight

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A businessman who narrowly missed out on winning £30,000 in a flying contest has told of his devastation after unsuccessfully taking legal action against the organisers.

Steve Elkins, of Hope, claimed he reached the 100m mark in the 2009 Worthing International Birdman competition so should have won the jackpot.

But organisers ruled the 51-year-old – who was flying a hang glider – was short by just 14cm and denied him the prize.

A court in Brighton has now upheld that decision, leaving Mr Elkins to pay £60,000 in legal costs.

Mr Elkins said: “I feel very upset and shocked about it all.” He said he had started the process of selling his business, Avian Ltd in Bradwell, to try to pay the costs and would “never dream of” taking part in the competition again.

Sharon Clare, manager of the Worthing Town Centre Initiative which organises the contest, said: “We are certainly not rejoicing.

“It’s been a torrid time for all of us.

“Mr Elkins chose to take these actions and he should have been aware of the implications.”

The Worthing International Birdman competition attracts nearly 20,000 spectators every year.