Winchester Pancake Day Race 2023

Tuesday 21 February Shrove Tuesday dawned, as usual, overcast and drizzly. Anthony Arkwright was the first to arrive on-site at 7.30am to let in the City Council workers with the barriers. Around 9.30am the logistics crew of Colin Cook, Justin Adgar and Dave Stewart arrived to assemble the three gazebos and I was dropped off with all the pancake equipment. At 10am the Sound System arrived followed by a very early Sainsburys team and then the other volunteers.

From 12.30pm the teams began to arrive including fried eggs, rabbits, scousers and even a Father Christmas. The excitement built until the Dean opened the proceedings and the first race was off. Rob Carter made an excellent MC – sorting out the teams and giving a great commentary with much humour and wit. Many members of the public made very complimentary remarks and one young lady even invited Rob to MC her next party. New career if the property world goes belly up Rob!!!

Gill Russell again organised all the publicity and invited BBC South to come along. They joined us for several hours along with the Hampshire Chronicle and numerous other photographers. BBC South did a “live” lunchtime broadcast and an excellent longer broadcast in the evening. Gill has also made fantastic use of social media before, during and after the event, posting on our Facebook and Twitter pages and monitoring and linking to numerous related organisations such as Pilgrims School – hello 21st Century.

In another nod to technology, we had our new SumUp machine available for card donations plus the yellow buckets wielded by Rotary and other volunteers. We collected £305 in donations on the day, £900 in team entrance fees and thanks to some personal sponsorship and a City Council grant we should have raised around £1700 this year for Trinity Women’s Services and Hope Street.

The fastest team and overall winners were “Pancakes of the Caribbean” (Pilgrims’ School, Year 8).  Best fancy dress – “The 4 Apostles” (Lane Clark & Peacock).

Finally, a huge thank you to everyone involved in the day: teams, volunteers, The Dean, the Cathedral, our stand in Mayor Jane Rutter and a huge, huge thanks to my partner in crime Anthony Arkwright.

Stand out moments

  • On Monday Colin Cook noticed two removal vans parked by the Cathedral refreshment van. On enquiring about them we discovered they had week-long permission to drive up and down the course. Anthony immediately got on the case and it was agreed that they would not move during the race. Much relief as I had no idea how to add the possibility of being run over by a removal van to my Risk Assessment.
  • The bloke dressed as a rabbit, who I think was running last in his fancy dress team, looked set to charge down the course just like all the other contestants. No, with great strength of character he just raised his paw to the crowd and proceeded to very slowly hop/jump his way to the finish line. He also dropped his pancake and couldn’t see it to pick it up because his costume impeded his view. His team lost the race but won the Fancy Dress Prize. Tortoise and Hare?
  • The day after the event we were delighted to receive a “late entry” from Uganda in the form of a video from our friends in the Rotary Club of Kasese Snow Peaks.  Here it is – Afan Abdallah and his son Ashaaz: Pancakes in Kasese

Shelagh Bird

A collection of Joe Bright’s great photos can be seen here (with a few extra contributions); Pancake Races photos

The Hampshire Chronicle live video is embedded in this article:  Hampshire Chronicle Pancake Day article

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