THE World Black Pudding Throwing Championships returned to Ramsbottom today, giving hundreds of people their chance to defeat the Yorkshires.

People of all ages have descended on Bridge Street to put their lobbing skills to the test by sending Bury's delicacy flying through the air.

The annual tradition sees competitors step up to the golden grid to take their aim at a dozen Yorkshire puddings, resting atop a plinth elevated at 20ft high.

Each contestant is allowed three attempts to knock as many of the puddings off the podium as possible, with their underarm throws.

Dozens of children are also taking part in a junior competition, aiming their black puddings, made by Chadwicks of Bury, at a second plinth set a few feet lower.

Spectator Olivia Wynne-Daniels, from Rawtenstall, who attended the event for the first time, said: "They should be at the Olympics.

"There is a really good community spirit. It think it is a great tradition. I do not think this exists anywhere else; only in Bury."

The competition dates back to the 1980s and plays on the ancient Yorkshire-Lancashire rivalry.

The custom is believed to derive from the War of the Roses when both sides ran out of ammunition and resorted to throwing food at each other. Black pudding was thrown by the Lancashire troops, while Yorkshire puddings were thrown by their opponents.

Former Stubbins resident Jimmy Cunliffe, one of the organisers, said: "We have an excellent turnout. The weather is perfect and the atmosphere is brilliant.

"We get such a huge variety of people attending from all over the world — Australia, South Africa, America — it is just barmy. But it just proves that they enjoy it. Black pudding throwing is something different."

In addition to the contest, there are several other attractions available to visitors, including fairground rides, food stalls and live music.

Banjax, a banjolele U3A group from Southport, are performing twice during the event. Members have written their own black pudding themed lyrics, and will be singing 'Black pudding day' to the tune of The Deadwood Stage.

Musician and co-ordinator Sandy Tyrer said: "We have been rehearsing each week for about six months.

"There are more than 20 of us performing. It is a really really good event. I'm not sure I would be any good at lobbing a black pudding myself though. Even the young people are having a go — it is a really good family atmosphere."

The event kicked off at 12noon on Sunday outside The Oaks pub, and is continuing throughout the afternoon.

Kieran Broderick, aged 57 from Salford, has been taking part for seven years.

He said: "There is a large group of us who come every year in the hope of winning. Mark Cannon, from Swinton, who won the world champion title in 2015, was a member of our group.

"We pretend we train for this. We really enjoy it. We have an internal competition to see who does the best and there are bragging rights for the rest of the year."

Angie Carruthers, of Ainsworth Road, Bury, was also a returning visitor, this year bringing along grandson Bradley, aged seven.

She said: "We come every year. It is a great occasion with a really good atmosphere.

"We are making a full day of it."

The person with the most success will take home prize money of £100. Entry is £1, with proceedings going to charity.