ORGANISERS of the World Pooh Sticks Championships are confident this year’s competition will go ahead after last year’s event was cancelled because of bad weather.

They are expecting 2,000 people from all over the world to descend on Days Lock, Little Wittenham, near Didcot, for the contest on Sunday, March 27.

Last year’s event had to be cancelled because of Environment Agency fears over health and safety after high water levels after rain made the River Thames dangerous.

The agency put up red flags on a stretch of the river from Radcot Lock to Hurley Lock, meaning organisers were unable to get their safety boats to the lock.

The boats are needed in case people leaning over to drop their sticks fall in the water.

Michael Saunders, president of the Rotary Club of Oxford Spires, which organises the event, said he was confident this year’s event will go ahead.

He said: “There was so much rain last year that we weren’t able to go ahead, but we don’t expect that to happen again.

“The river looks perfect at the moment.”

Contestants’ entry fees will be split between the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, St Peter’s Church in Little Wittenham, where the roof is being restored, and the charity Ssnap which supports the special care baby unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital, in Oxford.

Pooh Sticks was invented by the Winnie the Pooh author AA Milne as a game for his son.

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