RETURNING for its 30th outing, the Southend Pier Puppet Festival drew huge crowds to the pier across the weekend for fun and entertainment.

Five puppeteers descended on Southend’s pier to provide entertainment for hundreds of residents.

Jo Peek and Chris Gasper, both from Southend, were joined by Chippy Wood and Paul Jackson, from Surrey, Denise Pettit, known as Mrs Back to Front, from Kent, and Pauline and Derek Legg from Witham, who brought their fairground Organ Bella.

A number of versions of Punch were performed throughout both days, while Jo Peek presented a marionette showcase of six of his unusual puppets each afternoon.

A colouring workshop and a face painter were also on hand to entertain the younger audience members.

And there was no shortage of smiling faces as hundreds of youngsters descended on the pier over the weekend.