THOUSANDS of angling enthusiasts and fishing fans from across the country descended on Evesham this weekend for the town’s annual Angling Festival.

Despite worries that rain on Saturday would put a damper on the three-day event, organisers believe as many as 50,000 people crowded into town for the festival.

The festival has grown from relatively humble beginnings in the 1970s into one of the biggest events of its kind anywhere in the UK.

Spokesman Tom Scholey said: “We had more people than last year and in terms of sheer numbers the festival was bigger and better than ever. In terms of river angling festivals, it is now the biggest in the country by a long way. As ever we had 70 anglers fishing every day, all of whom had to qualify to be here, and I think we had more star names than ever before. The England team were able to make it this year, having missed it last time around because they were in competition.”

As well as being a recordbreaker in terms of the numbers, the event also smashed previous bests when it came to the fishing.

The festival-best haul was broken not once but twice, first on Sunday by Alan Scotthorne and then again on the Monday by Martyn Howard.