Annual Ropley Pram Race draws in the crowds

Hampshire Chronicle: Pushchairs, prams and even tanks were used to courier people along in one of the biggest races in the county Pushchairs, prams and even tanks were used to courier people along in one of the biggest races in the county

NO prizes for spotting the largest ‘pram’ at the annual race in a Hampshire village.

The cardboard replica World War One tank was hard to miss.

It was the latest creation of the Newts, five villagers who since 2002 have entered the Ropley race by pushing the definition of ‘pram’ to the limit.

In the past they have been inspired by the Chelsea Flower Show, Wacky Races and a hospital ward. They always finish last.

This time they were a 12-foot long tank created in the last six weeks by Roland Bugler, James Crowley, Michael Ludgate, Graham Arnott and Tim Holliday.

Roland said there was no rationale: “It is just whatever we feel like making at the time. It is not as big as our Viking longship.”

At some point during the race the Newts parked the tank and returned in a D-Day landing craft they had made earlier.

The fancy dress theme inspired racers to dress as Batman and Robin, Ancient Greek warriors, Thunderbirds and a World War One biplane. Two youngsters inside green sleeping bags starting the race by hopping.

This year 42 prams took part, starting and finishing at the recreation ground after a two-mile course. Hailed as the oldest in the country, stretching back to 1965, it attracted a good crowd of several hundred undeterred by the wet weather.

Doreen Gostage, of Gascoigne Lane, said: “It’s crazy but marvellous. It’s amazing but every year people come up with new ideas. It’s not the same old, same old.”

The winners were Sam Beckett and Theo Hughes in 15 minutes and five seconds.

First prize for fancy dress was Fleur Bennett and Jemma Lowe with a sunflower theme.

Jacqui May, on the organising committee, said: “It went very well considering the rain. There was a good turnout of 42 prams.”

Several village organisations had stalls in the sports pavilion.

For photo spread of the event, see this week's Hampshire Chronicle.

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