THREE Barrow women joined tens of thousands of people at what is billed as Europe’s ‘biggest’ fancy dress street party.

The trio travelled to Benidorm for the city’s ‘Fiestas Patronales’ celebrations, which it held every November. Thousands of Brits descend on the Costa Blanca every year to take part in the annual festivities, with a variety of parties and events targeted at tourists around the time of the traditional celebrations.

For Jessica Ralph, this was her first time abroad - while her two travel companions had both visited Benidorm once before.

Miss Ralph and Naomi Sargent met at St Pius X Catholic Primary School, which both of their daughters attend. Kim Sargent, who joined the two for the Benidorm trip, is Naomi’s mother.

The story behind the traditional fiesta – which the trio observed before taking part in the tourist-orientated fancy dress party - dates back to 1740, when a storm-battered ship was sighted just off the Benidorm coast.

After the boat was burned down to ward off an epidemic, the legend runs, an image of the Virgin Mary was uncovered by two young lads in the ship’s rubble. The image was then taken to a nearby church, where a dedicated chapel was later built.

Every year, a re-enactment of the legend takes place on Poniente Beach, along with parades through the streets of Benidorm’s Old Town district and fireworks displays.

The following day, a ‘bad taste’ parade sees tens of thousands of tourists dress up in an array of often explicit costumes – some of which have drawn criticism for their racy and sometimes offensive nature.

Jessica, Naomi and Kim opted for a less provocative choice of costume, forming a food-themed trio – with Jessica dressing up as a mustard container, Naomi as a hot dog and Kim as a ketchup bottle.

“We thought we were hilarious and we definitely amused a lot of people – a lot of people thought wanted photos with us,” Jessica said.

Despite some of the negative publicity attracted by some of the costumes on display at the fancy dress party, Miss Ralph said there was ‘no fighting whatsoever’.’ “We’ve all agreed to go back and do it again next year,” she said.