AIN'T HALF HOT, MUM... Balmy Britain basks in Mother's Day sunshine.



Byline: BEN ROSSINGTON

PAMPERED mums across the country were yesterday treated to cards, chocolates, flowers and glorious spring sunshine which saw temperatures reach 20C.

The weekend's warm weather resulted in an early appearance for barbecues in the garden and people packing into parks.

And experts reckon in the coming days we can look forward to temperatures topping Spain and Corfu. Pockets of Britain, including London, are predicted to hit 21C (70F) today, making it hotter than Madrid and the Cote d'Azur, both 17C, and Majorca and Ibiza at 18C, said forecaster MeteoGroup.

And because the clocks went forward yesterday, it means plenty more time to enjoy the sunshine.

In Bournemouth, Dorset, thousands flocked to the coast causing lengthy tailbacks through the New Forest and packed seafront car parks.

The promenade was busy with people strolling along in short-sleeves while the beach filled up with families celebrating Mother's Day.

Sarah Gorment, 43, from Southampton, who was relaxing on the sand, said: "It's been a lovely weekend weather wise. The roads were very busy getting here but the rewards have been worth it. I remember what last March was like and how cold it was - but this year it feels like summer."

More than a thousand people flocked to Day's Lock on the Thames at Little Wittenham, Oxon, for the annual Pooh Sticks championship.

Based on the game featured in the Winnie the Pooh books, competitors gather on a bridge to throw sticks into the water on one side and see whose floats out first on the other.

The top temperatures are also good news for our plants and animals. Matthew Oates, wildlife adviser at the National Trust, said: "We've just suffered one of the most miserable winters ever - the wettest on record.

"The weather owes us - and nature - a great Spring.

"This warm spell is great news for butterflies as they soak up the sunshine, and brilliant for birds as they get ready for the breeding season.

"It's also good for blossom on fruit trees and that classic symbol of spring, the bluebell."

But it was not all fun in the sun yesterday. The iconic Angel of the North and Tyne Bridge both disappeared under a veil of thick fog that refused to shift over Gateshead and Newcastle.

And forecasters warned eastern Scotland and the North East will continue to see misty spells this week.

Thundery showers caused by the warm air front were also predicted for some western parts today.

Rachel Vince, of Meteogroup, said: "It will be nice for most of the country over the next few days."

ben.rossington@mirror.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

TYNESIDE Angel of the North obscured by fog on the Tyne

Pooh sticks championship at Little Wittenham

LONDON HMS Belfast in golden light as sun rises behind Tower Bridge yesterday

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