A MONMOUTHSHIRE youngster has caused a splash at an international level by being named World Puddle Jumping champion.

A "buzzing" three-year-old Theo Burkitt-Watkins learned of his world-beating status yesterday.

Theo leapt to success after a video, taken by mum Amy Watkins, was voted into the number-one spot by organisers of the World Puddle Jumping Championships, Wicksteed Park in Kettering.

The annual championships went ahead as a virtual event this year to ensure coronavirus restrictions didn't dampen everyone's fun.

Theo joined competitors, from as far afield as Italy and Australia, taking part in the eighth annual event, which is held each year during the October half term holidays.

Wannabe champion puddle jumpers were asked to submit videos of themselves leaping, splashing and generally getting soaked for a shot at the title.


Judges give scores based on things such as the height of the jump, enthusiasm, distance of splash and stickability (the amount of mud which clings to each competitor).

However, Theo and his family were not even aware of the competition when his winning entry was filmed.

The youngster tests his waterproof one-piece to the limit - first splashing into a large muddy puddle before almost completely submerging himself and rolling around.

No doubt he will have scored highly for splash, enthusiasm and stickability with the judges.

Dad Aled Burkitt said: "My girlfriend posted the video of Theo up at Goytre Park on Facebook. We didn’t even know about the competition.

"I was settling down to watch the rugby and got a call to say he was soaked from head to toe.

"It wasn’t planned at all."

A friend of the family suggested they should enter the World Puddle Jumping Championships, and Theo's journey to world champion was begun.

"We found out yesterday that he’d won the competition," said Mr Burkitt.

"It was funny to be honest. Theo was buzzing.

"He loves going down to the woods and splashing around. Especially in lockdown.

"He’s too full of energy to just sit in the house all day."

Wicksteed Park's head of sales and marketing Rachel James said: “The World Puddle Jumping Championships is a great way to encourage people, and especially children, to get out into the fresh air and have some fun.

“Hundreds of children, and some adults, take part but it would be impossible to run in the normal way this year.

“However, we are determined that coronavirus restrictions won’t ruin the fun and are asking people to find their own puddles to jump in, whether that is in their own garden, while out for a walk with their families, or visiting the park in a socially-distanced manner.”

Wicksteed Park was founded by Charles Wicksteed, the inventor of the modern day slide and swing, to encourage families to enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle and get out into the fresh air.