SANDBANKS beach was packed with thousands of spectators for this year's British Beach Polo Championships.

Made in Chelsea reality TV star Hugo Taylor and Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood were among those attending the Daily-Echo backed event, which now in its 11th year is a firm favourite in the Dorset calendar.

The championships involved four competitive polo teams battling it out for supremacy in a specially-created beach arena.

New for this year was 'Sandscrum', a five-a-side beach rugby tournament.

There was also an 'Ibiza Fashion Festival' and two nights of entertainment in the festival marquee.

Event organiser Johnny Wheeler told the Echo: "This is a boutique event and it has been a sell out.

"We've actually pumped more water than any previous year onto the beach in order firm up the sand. As, unlike the rest of the country, we've managed to avoid any rain, so we've broken records keeping our pumps going

"The Sandscrum was amazing, it went down really well. It was a fantastic buffer with the polo either side.

"Another thing we managed to do, because of the great conditions, is we had a super fast Corba Rib boat racing against the polo ponies.

"We normally do this with a car, but we thought we'd do it with the best thoroughbred ponies racing against each other on the beach - and managed to throw in the rib, which was hilarious."

One of the ponies won, with the rib coming in second ahead of the other pony.

"The rib only came second because one of the the ponies got spooked by the bollard it was going around," said Johnny.

A major part of this year's championships, was the involvement of the Household Cavalry Foundation (HCF).

The HCF, the Household Cavalry's official charity, works to support operational casualties, serving soldiers, veterans and their families.

Johnny said: "We have raised an awful lot of money for our chosen charity, which is why Tobias Ellwood is particularly keen to come along and present the prize to the winners in the charity race."

Mr Ellwood served as a Captain in the British Army's Royal Green Jackets.