MUSCLES were tested to bursting point recently as an increasingly popular event finding the strongest men and women in the area took place in Sharpness.

Even though the forecast predicted dire conditions, hundreds of people turned up for Sharpness Strongest Man and Woman 2014, now in its fifth year.

Challenges included giant tyre dragging, car lifting and the “pillars of Hercules” where competitors hold on to two heavy pillars for as long as possible.

They also took part in a loading race, involving sandbags or concrete-filled containers carried and hoisted onto platforms.

For the men’s event, Daryl Cross of Dursley built up a convincing lead in the early stages over several strong competitors but two-time runner-up Rob Moran of Berkeley finally came out on top and was awarded his trophy as Sharpness’ strongest man.

Several personal bests were won during the women’s event over the six challenges, with Wotton-under-Edge resident Debbie McCowatt pushing last year’s winner Hannah Paterson until the end.

However the physical instructor from Sharpness kept her nerve and was once again crowned strongest woman.

With around 500 people visiting throughout the day, enjoying the free entertainment as well as a number of other festivities including live music, £1,500 was raised in donations, including from several local businesses.

The money will be shared between a Christmas party for children in the area and the Sharpness Swimming Pool Fund.

Organiser and previous Sharpness Strongest Man champion, Andy Harvey, said a “massive” thank you had to go out to the event’s supporters and those who helped in the build up to the day.

“I would also like to thank Sharpness residents for being understanding with the road closure and increased traffic to the village on the bank holiday weekend.”

Mr Harvey added that he would like to thank Vinny Carter who made and donated two matching lead belts for the winners.