SUB-zero temperatures did not stop dedicated people camping outside overnight in a bid to get their hands on a converted beach hut in Mudeford.

Around 14 people set up their chairs at Avon Beach overnight on Thursday, January 7, to ensure a top spot in the annual beach hut queue, including one local family who had grabbed pole position last Saturday.

With only one short season hut available this year, members of the Abbot family have been taking it in turns throughout the week to guard the prized place with other hardy locals pitching up to take their places from Thursday morning.

Temperatures reached -5 overnight but by the time the doors to the shop opened on the Friday morning, there were around 40 people in the queue.

There are 64 huts available with the 17 huts being let for the six-week school summer holiday proving the most popular.

Prices range from £95 for a weekly stay between May and September to £590 for a seasonal vacation between April and September.

Hillary Hillier, 55, from Highcliffe, had managed to snare third place in the queue, turning up at noon on Thursday.

She said: “I’ve been doing this for 20 years now. Now I have my first grandchild it has given me even more reason to come down here. The trick is to layer. It’s the only way to survive the cold.”

Next to her in the line, Liz Clarke from Southbourne, said: “This is the first year we’ve done it. As well as the sleeping bag I’ve got so many different items of clothes on.

“I’m praying for a really hot summer to make it all worth it!”

And Kay Burton, 53, said she had been taking the wait in turns along with seven other members of her family.

“Despite it being cold, there has been a wonderful sense of community. I’m just looking forward to warming up.”

Laura Huxtable from Avon Beach Company said: “We have regular customers that queue up each year. They all know each other and so the atmosphere overnight is very good.

“There is a good camaraderie among them all.”