BIKERS descended on Southend seafront in their thousands yesterday, as glorious weather welcomed the 13th annual Southend Shakedown.

Organised by London’s famous Ace Cafe, the annual event saw bikes of nearly every make and model take to the roads to raise money for children’s charity the NSPCC.

The idea for the run originated in the motorcycle club tradition of taking part in “egg runs” each Easter, where motorcyclists take Easter eggs to children in hospitals and hospices.

Mark Willsmore, owner of the Ace Cafe, said: “This is the third year we’ve supported the NSPCC, which we picked because of the Easter sentiment of giving.

“Years ago, when we were organising a run to Southend over Easter, we realised thousands of Easter eggs would be no use to anyone so we decided to do a collection instead. Now, we always try to look for charities which sit within that sentiment and the NSPCC is an obvious one.”

With two previous Shakedowns held for the charity, riders are now familiar with the cause, and some even sported green outfits to tie in with the charity’s colour.

Among the attendees was author Mick Duckworth, who signed copies of his book – Ace Times: Speed thrills and tea spills, a cafe and a culture – on the Ace Cafe stand on the seafront.

The book charts the history of the cafe from its opening back in 1938 to its Fifties heyday, taking in its closure at the end of the Sixties, to its current form following its rebirth in the Nineties.

Many of the Shakedown participants left the Ace Cafe, in Stonebridge, North London, at 10.30am and followed the North Circular before picking up the A12 in East London, then hitting the A127 to the coast.

The convoy arrived on the seafront a couple of hours later and drew in spectators who admired the motorbikes on display.

Mr Willsmore said: “Southend is a day out destination for London. The Shakedown is a great excuse to ride together, which is what motorcyclists like to do.

“It’s a fun day out that also allows us to mark the spirit of Easter and giving.”

For more information about the Ace Cafe and the Shakedown, go to