THE SKIES above Plymouth were alight with colour and sound last night as the British Firework Championships returned to the city.
Thousands of spectators packed Plymouth Hoe and other vantage points across the city to witness the first night of the colourful showdown.
The annual two-day contest, now in it’s 18th year, features six professional display companies from across the country.
A busy schedule of entertainment from 6.30pm got the crowds in the mood before darkness fell over the waterfront and the displays began at 9.30pm.
Berkshire-based Shellscape Pyrotechnics kicked off the night in spectacular style followed by Blitz Fireworks from Cheshire and Northern Lights Fireworks from Wiltshire who provided the finale for the first night of the championships.
With the teams based on Mount Batten Breakwater, magnificent views could be seen not only from on the Hoe, but the Citadel, Queen Anne’s Battery, Devil’s Point and Jennycliff.
Peter and Joan Chidgey, from Tiverton, were visiting the event for the second year.
“We came down on the second day last year and that was fantastic, so we decided to come for two nights this time,” said Joan.
Cody Snell, 19, and her friend Kelsey O’Brien, also aged 19, made the trip over the Tamar from Saltash to enjoy the evening on Plymouth Hoe.
“It’s nice to see everyone up here showing their support,” said Cody who has enjoyed the spectacular event in Plymouth for the last three years.
“Last year it was heaving, but we we’ve managed to get a place on the grass this year.”
Eileen McPague was with Andrew Kerr and Ann Burrough, all from Liskeard.
Eileen said: “We have been coming for a long time and the Hoe is one of our favourite places.
“It’s such a beautiful setting and it’s a unique opportunity for families to have an evening out.”
In the final night's programme of events tonight, PYRO 1 will battle it out against Reaction Fireworks and 2011 winner MLE Pyrotechnics.