Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Brothers go head-to-head in battle of the barrows

Brothers go head-to-head in battle of the barrows

TWO sets of brothers battled it out in the final of the first Binfield Heath wheelbarrow race in almost 30 years.

Jack and Rob Jiggens were crowned the winners after beating Jack and Fergus Adamson at Sunday’s village fun day.

The race was last held in 1991 when scores of people used to take part, dashing from the Bottle and Glass pub to the White Hart at Shiplake Row, now Orwells restaurant, about a mile away.

For the revival, participants raced in pairs with one pushing and the other in the barrow.

They had to down a pint of beer or a soft drink before setting off on a lap of the recreation ground, swapping places at the halfway point. There were two heats for adults before the final as well as two races for children in which they all made the finish line unscathed.

After the Jiggens’ victory Jack, 27, said: “It’s the most famous I’ve been in the village — I’m over the moon!”

Rob 22, added: “It’s great that this tradition is back.”

Other competitiors included parish council chairman Paul Rollason, who was partnered by fellow councillor Lis Ransom, and Eliza Carpenter and Kaeti Martin, who were dressed as a nun and witch respectively.

The day was organised by the village society.

Chairman Guy Cleall said: “The main event was the return of the wheelbarrow racing. There was a little bit of mayhem to start with and then some spirited racing. Nobody had a tumble and there were no injuries.

“It was a good event and people really enjoyed watching it. For Jack and Rob it’s a claim to fame and they have the kudos of bringing the barrow race into the 21st century.

“Next year we hope to have it as a separate event on the roads, starting and finishing at the Bottle and Glass, which sponsored this year’s race.”

The village day also included a barbecue, a Loddon beer bar provided by the Bottle and Glass Inn, tea and cake, face-painting, children’s races, table tennis and a plant stall. Music was provided by Keith Turner.

In the original barrow race competitors would charge down Common Lane towards Arch Hill and the village stores. When they reached the halfway point at the New Inn, which has since closed, they would down another beer before swapping roles and making for the finish where a final pint awaited them.

Some raced in regular wheelbarrows while others made their own using simple wooden frames and decorated them to look like aeroplanes, tanks, racing cars and other vehicles. Many also wore elaborate fancy dress. There were no road closures so they had to swerve around unsuspecting cars and buses.

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