Is this the end for Longridge’s Boxing Day Pram Race?

A team at Longridge Boxing Day Pram Race 2014
A team at Longridge Boxing Day Pram Race 2014

Longridge Field Day has pulled the plug on organising the town’s annual Boxing Day Pram Race.

Field day president Bill Houghton said the decision to cancel the popular race which has raised thousands of pounds for field day and various charities over the years “has not been arrived at without some soul searching” and he hopes another organisation might still be able to take it on.

He said issues surrounding “health and safety, insurances, and policing and event management” of the race, all of which combine to make the event “more and more difficult, if not impossible to stage” had forced their hand.

The race takes in the majority of the town’s pubs, as teams of up to six people race around the streets in fancy dress with their ‘prams’.

Mr Houghton described the pram race as one of the “highlights” of the town calendar and said the field day committee would like to apologise to the Lovatt Family, who instigated the race more than 36 years ago, for its cancellation, saying “we are so sorry to see it finish”.

Mr Houghton said the committee had always “policed” the race themselves, but with the rise of health and safety issues, said they were always “on edge” until its end, as they never knew what was going to happen.

As to insurance, Mr Houghton said the problem wasn’t the cost, as they had cover for the full year, but if an accident occurred with a vehicle causing damage or injury, there was “a bit of a grey area.”

Mr Houghton said 12 people had been needed to organise the race, with a further four required the following day to clean up, but there are only up to eight members on the committee.

The absence of race will also leave a large dint in field day funds and Mr Houghton said talks are already underway to see how they can cover the shortfall. The race raises between £2,000 to £3,000 each year, which is split between field day and a good cause - charity.

Last year the race was cancelled at the 11th hour due to flooding, but the previous year, more than 250 people took part.

Race supporter and former mayor Hilda Marle Collis said: “I am sorry to hear about the pram race but I am not surprised as supervising these things takes time...and no-one wants to take them over.”

“It has been a good part of our history and the young ones enjoyed it.”