The new Guiness World Records book officially launches today. 

The 2022 version of the annual is sure to contain some new and bizarre world records, most of which the average Joe won't even have thought of. 

To celebrate the launch of this year's book, we've delved into the archives and taken a look back at some of the world records set in south Essex. 

From the most people to ride a theme park ride naked, to the largest gathering of cardiac arrest survivors, there have been some truly unusual attempts.

So here are some of the highlights:

Most people to ride a theme park ride..... naked


We start with a humdinger – most people to ride a theme park ride naked.

A total of 102 people stripped off and road the Green Scream rollercoaster at Adventure Island, Southend, on August 8, 2010.

The ride had 40 seats, so the rollercoaster went three times to accommodate all the naked visitors – who travelled from across the UK to take part.

They helped raised £22,000 for Bosom Pals, an appeal in aid of the breast cancer unit at Southend Hospital.

Unfortunately, their record was topped in Blackpool in 2019, when 195 people stripped off and got on a theme park ride.

Anyone up for another shot at the record?

Largest Superman dance


Pupils at Hamstel Junior School, Infant School and Nursery, in Southend, became world record holders in July 2015 with their mammoth dancing effort.

In total, 1,042 children and staff took part in a special Superman dance, beating the previous record of 897 people.

Everyone involved was in Eighties fancy dress.

Headteacher, Lisa Clarke, said: “It was an idea of how we could end our centenary year on a high.

“It brought the whole school community together. The school has a very high profile in the area and it was a great achievement."

The record has yet to be broken…

Most people watching TV..... underwater


Watching football is stressful enough without having to worry about how much oxygen you have left.

But that didn’t bother 114 people who splashed their way to a new world record by watching a football match underwater.

The group of divers and sports fans combined to watch England’s World Cup qualifier versus Ukraine at the Underwater Studios, in Archer’s Field, Basildon, in April 2009.

The divers had to stay in the water for at least 30 minutes to set the record.

And they reached that mark just seconds after Peter Crouch gave England the lead in the 29th minute.

The studio put a scaffold with seating into a tank, with the capacity to hold up to 150,000 gallons of water, to allow divers to watch the game.

Special televisions were used and sound was piped into the pool, so the underwater fans could relax and enjoy England’s 2-1 victory.

Aged from ten to 62, the supporters wore England shirts over their wet suits and cheered on the team by waving hands and flags.

And they still hold the world record to this day.

Largest gathering of people dressed as princesses


Hundreds of princesses descended on Basildon’s Festival Leisure Park for a world record attempt in aid of the Little Princess Trust.

Tots, teenagers, mums – and even dads – smashed the previous record of 250 princesses, as 351 people turned up in costume in May 2014.

It was done to raise cash for The Little Princess Trust which provides real-hair wigs to boys and girls who have lost their own through cancer treatment.

Towie’s Chloe Sims, who was dressed as Cinderella, was among the princesses. She said: “All girls love to dress up like a princess.

“I always used to love Cinderella, although one little girl told me today she doesn’t have brown hair, which I had to explain away.”

Sadly, the record was beaten just a year later in Southampton – with a whopping 450 people taking part.

Largest gathering of cardiac arrest survivors

A record which still stands today saw 127 people who successfully recovered from a cardiac gather in Basildon in 2018.

It was achieved by Basildon & Thurrock University Hospitals Trust, Sudden Cardiac Arrest UK and SADS UK.

Participants aged from 11 to 80 travelled from all over the UK to be part of this attempt, with one participant finishing their holiday in Gran Canaria early to attend.

Most handcuffs unlocked in a minute and more


Escapologist Stuart Burrell is currently the proud owner of two world records.

And its no surprise what they are.

He is the fastest person to escape from a pair of double locked regulation prisoner transport irons in 1 min 3.78 sec.

He achieved the feat at Sutton Hall, Rochford, on 11 July 2015.

Stuart broke his previous record of 1 min 37.34 sec.

In what will have been a day to remember for Stuart, he also broke the record for the number of handcuffs unlocked in one minute.

During a show at the Red Brick Barn, he was able to open nine handcuffs - beating the previous record of eight.

And yep – you guessed it – he was also responsible for that one too.