British Firework Championship in Plymouth under way

Thousands of people gathered in Plymouth to watch the British Fireworks Championships.

The two-day event involves six companies each producing a 10-minute display to compete for the national title.

Every vantage point surrounding Plymouth Sound was packed with spectators watching pyrotechnic displays from the first three teams.

The event is said to contribute £4m to the local economy.

Plymouth City Council arranged entertainment on the Hoe, late night park-and-ride bus services and city centre car parks were open until midnight.

The council said the event, which normally attracts a total of about 200,000 spectators, is one of the highlights in the city's calendar.

A spokesman told BBC News: "The event is now in its 15th year in Plymouth and attracts tens of thousands of visitors from across the region, the country and even from overseas, giving a massive boost to the city's tourist industry.

"We know from hotels and guest houses that many people book their holidays specifically to coincide with the championships.

"The council contributes around £90,000 a year towards the event, which includes setting-up costs, security, medical support, cleansing and much more.

"When you consider the championships generate an estimated £4m for the local economy we consider this a very worthwhile investment."

'Spectacular' displays

The winner will be chosen by a panel of judges on Wednesday night after the final three companies have competed.

First-time judge Jemma Witham described the standard of displays on Tuesday as spectacular.

"They were absolutely fantastic, with amazing colours, height and patterns," she told BBC News."

Tuesday's competitors were Skyburst, Fireworx Scotland and Nemesis Pyrotechnics.

Celebration Fireworks, MLE Pyrotechnics and Highlight Pyrotechnics will compete for the title on Wednesday.

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