8:40am Tuesday 21st February 2012
By Tarik Al Rasheed
MALVERN Rotary Club’s annual pancake race was bigger and batter than ever this week as a record number of teams turned out and had a flipping good time in Priory Park.
Although Tuesday’s event was officially a week before Shrove Tuesday, organisers opted to bring the date forward to coincide with half-term and hopefully boost numbers.
And the move paid off handsomely, with 20 teams lining up and well over 100 more gathering to cheer them on.
Malvern’s mayor Ian Hopwood officially opened the event at 12.30pm and the racing soon began with a series of relay-style heats. Competitors, sporting a colourful array of fancy dress ranging from superheroes to sunflowers, had to navigate a short course through the park, stopping to toss their pancakes along the way.
Familiar faces from the Rotary Club, Malvern Hills District Council and Festival Housing were among those taking part, while there were also entries from charities including Macmillan Cancer Support and Save the Children, local businesses Morgan Motors and Kendall Wadley and the customary two teams from main sponsors Waitrose.
Things started heating up as the competition reached the semifinals, with Arnie and the Terminators narrowly edging out their colleagues from the Splash Gym in the first race and Wait – one of the teams from Waitrose – defeating Morgan Motors and Flippin’ Council Workers to secure their spot in the final.
After a close start it was Wait – comprising Dan Shail, Joel Redman, Adam Soley and Phil Radley – who pulled away to keep up the store’s impressive record of success in the event.
In the veterans’ competition, the final came down to a match-up between Malvern Rotary team Pancanmakers and their counterparts from Malvern Inner Wheel, Wheel’s Golden Girls.
They conspired – some would suggest knowingly – to engineer a dead heat, although the Rotarians later sportingly conceded defeat.
Sponsors Waitrose and Barefoot Wines supplied prizes for the winners and runners-up, along with the team with the best fancy dress.
This went to the Rotary team Sunflower Power, who were unmissable in their sunflower hats, tutus and garish green socks. Bringing the event to a close, Coun Hopwood, Rotary president Jim Richardson and Waitrose manager Scott Whittaker thanked Malvern Hills District Council for its assistance and everyone who took part or supported.
Sandy Gibson, of Malvern Rotary, said he was delighted the event had been such a big success and thanked Waitrose for its “fantastic” support.
“Hopefully we will have raised another very good amount of money for some very worthy causes,” he added.
Proceeds from the event are still being added up. This year, teams can donate 50 per cent of their sponsorship to a charity of their choice, with the other half going to Rotary causes.
Teams directly representing a charity are being allowed to retain all of their sponsorship.
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