Best-selling crime author Peter James was given the honour of starting this year’s Bolney Pram Race on Easter Monday.
Peter, who lives in nearby Woodmancote, told the Middy: “As Richard Jackson, the incoming Bishop of Lewes said to me, shortly before he blessed the event, ‘Only in England’, I was actually thinking, ‘Only in Sussex’ - because we have more than our fair share of eccentricities in this wonderful county of ours - both East and West.
“And I believe it is where pram racing originated, too.”
The annual Bolney Pram Race is a fancy dress, charity event that sees runners complete a course through Bolney village stopping at various drink stops on the way.
Don’t Lego of The Pram by Mark Hullett and Neil Hagger won the prize for best fancy dress. (See below for other awards)
Peter said: “It was incredible to see the efforts of so many people, and time given up by the assistant Police and Crime Commisioner, Mark Streeter for two really fantastic charities, SERV and Dreamflight, and I’m told they look like comfortably exceeding their £10k raised last year.”
The start line was a sight to behold, said the author who has sold in excess of 13 million books worldwide.
“I think my favourite moment was the very start, seeing such a diverse range of entrants, and the utter determination with which they took off from the start line, even running over a few feet in the process.”
And it seems a whacky races contagion could have been in the air too with Peter adding: “I could seriously be tempted to enter myself one year.”
The writer, famed for his Roy Grace of Sussex CID ‘Dead’ series of crime novels, is a self-confessed petrol head, and as such said he felt honoured to be starting the event.
“And despite my own accident racing at Brands Hatch last year, where I rolled at 90 mph, at times I thought the pram racing took a lot more courage than the motor racing I normally do,” he said.
“Despite belching smoke from the Bishop’s burning blessing, none of the drivers or passengers wore flame proof overalls, there were no helmets and I didn’t see anyone in a safety harness!
“What a joy to see a true madcap event, enjoyed by a massive crowd, and not a Health n Safety spoilsport in sight.”
The event’s target was to raise £10,000 for two national charities with local impact; SERV who are the motorcycle “bloodrunners” delivering vital supplies to NHS hospitals out-of-hours, and Dreamflight which takes seriously ill and disabled children on life-changing holidays to Florida.
ON Easter Monday there were in excess of 600 people at The Eight Bells, Bolney.
The organisers would like to thanks everyone who attended, as well as all the sponsors who dug so deep for our charities – the vast majority of them were small, local businesses who were incredibly generous again this year.
The competitor’s results were as follows: 1st Place: “Adam and Eve” – Toby and Hamish DeBaerdemaeker; 2nd Place: “Miami Vice” – Jezz Batchelor and Peter Andronov; 3rd Place: “Kronenburg Safari” – Harry Hawkins and Robin Ward-Sale.
1st Ladies Team: “The Trollied Dollies” – Nikki Johnson and Caroline Beart.
Best Pram (awarded for construction and technical merit) “High As A Kite” – Richard Cordrey and Janice Butler.
Best Fancy Dress : “Don’t Lego of The Pram” – Mark Hullett and Neil Hagger.
See the Mid Sussex Times, April 24 edition, for more event pictures.