IT was flowers, bunnies and eggs galore at this year’s Variety Easter Bonnet competition.

The event, held at Key West restaurant on Bournemouth Pier yesterday, has been running for the last few years in a bid to raise awareness of the charity, which fundraises for sick, disabled and disadvantaged children across Dorset.

Children of all ages donned home-made bonnets that they’d decorated with fluffy chicks, sparkly eggs and colourful floral arrangements, in the true spirit of the season.

Judges Ed “Stewpot” Stewart and designer Celia Bygraves, daughter-in-law of singer Max, who are both long-time supporters of the charity, had the tough job of picking a winner, eventually naming six-year-old Katinka McDowell, from Springborne, in first place.

The youngster won a fish and chip dinner for four, as well as an Easter egg, while more eggs were given out to the children in second and third place.

Celia, who is also a designer, said she was “very impressed” by the competition entries, adding: “There are some fantastic hats this year.”

Event organiser Frances Cornelius, who runs Variety in the area, said: “We’ve been doing this about six years. Esther Rantzen did it for the first two or three years, then Debra Stephenson, and Ed is doing it this year.

“Both Ed and Celia have always been involved with the charity, they’re on my committee.”

Frances said she hoped the event would continue to be a yearly feature in the Variety calendar.

She added: “It’s just to raise awareness of the charity and some of the work that we do to raise funds for children in the region. We fund-raise for life-changing special equipment.

“We are all volunteers with Variety – we run it in our spare time.”

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