I have always wanted to have a Guinness World Record, whether individually or as part of a group. It was one of the earlier additions to my list and I had just been waiting for the opportunity to present itself; so when it came along, I was excited. ‘Pirate Day’, brainchild of a Hastings resident, was an annual event that had started the year before. This year, on the 6th of August 2010, there was going to be an attempt to beat the Guinness World Record for the Largest Gathering of Pirates. At this time the record was held by Portland, Oregon and stood at 1,878.
The townsfolk of Hastings have ever been game for a bit of dressing up (google ‘Hastings Jack in the Green’ and you’ll see what I mean) and it seemed as if everyone I knew was going, so hopes were high for us beating the record. On the day of the event, I dressed Emiko in one of my shirts and a pair of leggings, added a bandana and put an eyepatch on her bear. I was already wearing my carefully planned outfit of a raggedy black skirt, black corset top and New Rocks along with a multitude of belts and bangles and my wooden cap gun. I added my hat and set off to find our friends.
We found several of them already in the enclosure of fencing into which participants were being herded whilst the total was being counted. We found a good spot, laid down our things and sat and talked and looked at other people’s outfits. Some people had clearly put an enormous amount of effort into their costumes, others less so. Rum and mead were shared amongst the grown-ups and we listened to the pirate-themed bands and sea shanties. While the judgement was being made, a Jack Sparrow lookalike entertained us, accompanied by lookalikes resembling other of the films characters. Finally, with much ceremony, it was announced that the town of Hastings had beaten the Guinness World Record for the Largest Gathering of Pirates, with 6,166 pirates counted! The certificate, when it arrived, was for a while displayed in the Town Hall, where people who had participated could have their photo taken with it. I took Emiko (after all, she’s a world record holder too!)