More than 100 people, many of them children, fell violently ill following a firm's family fun day.

Families who attended the buffet and barbecue party were struck down with a mystery diarrhoea and vomiting bug next day.

Health officials have launched an investigation into Saturday's event at King's Church, Hastings.

It was organised by the social club at plastics firm Marshall-Tufflex as a treat for staff and their families.

A woman whose husband works for the company at its headquarters in Churchfields Industrial Estate, St Leonards, said: "People have been going down like flies."

Catering at the party was provided by King's Church but spokesman John Bevridge said he was sure the illness was nothing to do with the food. Doctors are not sure of the cause.

The indoor event featured bouncy castles and entertainment for children in the afternoon with live bands and a bar in the evening.

Home-made burgers and hot dogs were barbecued while the buffet included fruit, salads, scones, cheeses, couscous, sandwiches and rolls filled with brie and cranberry and chicken tikka.

One guest said: "Myself, my husband, two of my three sons, my mother, my husband's mother and father, his sister and her two children have all been very sick.

"We were OK on the night but spent the following day rushing to and from the toilet.

"The boys, who are six and 11, had to have two days off school and my husband a day off work.

"We thought it might be a family illness but when my husband went back to work it transpired dozens of others at the event had been poorly too.

"We went to the doctor and he gave us rehydration medicines but could not say for sure why we were ill.

"We're not sure if it was the barbecue or what. The food wasn't the best I've ever eaten.

"My youngest boy, who is four, didn't eat and he was fine."

Mr Bevridge said: "We are awaiting the findings of Environmental Health but we are 99.9 per cent confident our catering is not to blame.

"A number of people did not even eat the food from the barbecue.

"We've called round doctors' surgeries and it appears there is a nasty virus going around.

"The event was in a confined space and it's possible a number of people turned up with the bug and it spread."