We have seen the likes of Spider-Man and Captain America walking along the seafront and Superman heading to Southend Carnival in recent years - and it is all thanks to the Thundersley Superhero Alliance.

The fancy-dressed group celebrated their fourth anniversary last week, having been established by superhero enthusiast Simon Foxen.

Simon, 56, has been a fan of Marvel characters since his youth and decided, after realising National Superhero Day falls in April, he wanted to arrange for other superhero-mad south Essex residents to join him in raising funds for charity by getting into character garb.

The hairdresser, who owns the Simon Foxen Barber Shop on Hart Road, Thundersley, is pleased to see the Thundersley Superhero Alliance still bringing joy to the community, particularly in the midst of a global pandemic.

Simon said: “The Thundersley Superhero Alliance started out as a dream of mine after discovering National Superhero Day exists.

“I love superheroes and characters in movies, so I wanted to find a group of superheroes that would raise money for Havens Hospices at Southend Carnival and other events.

“There are 22 members now and we have raised up to £8,000 in the last four years.

“We may dress as superheroes, but we raise money for the real superheroes in our community and we always say we bring miles of smiles.”