THOUSANDS grabbed their guitars and joined the UK's biggest band - led by a rock legend - for Guitars on the Beach.

This year more than 3,300 from all over the country including throughout Dorset played Smoke on the Water led by Ian Gillan of Deep Purple, securing the UK record for the biggest band yet again.

Organiser Geoff Baker said the event in Lyme Regis raised thousands of pounds for charity and they are already planning next year's attempt to secure the world record.

Speaking about this year's event on Saturday, he said: “It was mind blowing, it exceeded all of our expectations. So many people turned up and there wasn't a spot on the beach. All of us, and the town, were astonished and everyone was great.

“Eight boatmen got together and went into the Bay and let off smoke flares, so you have got Ian Gillan and this huge crowd all playing and singing and seeing that. I hope it will become an institution in Lyme.”

Ian Gillan, who lives in Lyme Regis, took time out from the band's world tour to take part and stepped in to pay for the stage to be built when arrangements for free scaffolding fell through.

Iconic guitar manufacturer Fender sponsored the event and donated £1,000, supplying two Stratocaster guitars which were raffled off on the day.

The event coincided with chef Mark Hix's Food Rocks festival in Lyme over the same weekend, and Mr Hix even took to the stage himself to perform with his band of chefs called The Eatles.

The fundraiser collected cash for five charities this year: Lyme's Christmas lights and children's playground appeals, Exeter cancer-support group FORCE, Axe Valley's Bloodbikes emergency medical courier team and the natural disasters aid group Water Survival Box.