"Toss your pancake - are you ready-", the bell rings and they're off! It's the?
"Toss your pancake - are you ready-", the bell rings and they're off! It's the Olney Pancake Race, first run in 1445 and still going strong. Thirteen starters raced down the main street of this Buckinghamshire village, pancakes sizzling.
The Olney Pancake Race is a pre-Lent custom. How it started no one knows. Someone suggested a harassed Medieval housewife perhaps ran to church, as the shriving bell was ringing, still holding her frying pan. However it began, it's become one of Britain's best known traditions.
All competitors must be over 18 years of age and residents or natives of Olney. This year's prizes were a pressure cooker, and the MacMillan 'Silver Frying Pan' Trophy - named after the present British Premier. This 'trophy' was introduced when Olney, was first challenged by the housewives of Liberal, Kansas, USA., in 1950. Since then the winners times of the annual American and British races are compared, and the country with the fastest 'pancake racer' takes the trophy for one year.
First across the Olney line was 24-year-old Mrs.Bridget Lowrie, Olney native and ex-WREN. Her time - 1 minute 15.8 seconds. When she had tossed her pancake for the last time, at the finishing line, Bridget received a smacking kiss from Olney Church verger and the pressure cooker from Mrs. Joan Haan, TWA air hostess.
Across the Atlantic, the Liberal winner was Miss Mary Collingwood who clipped seven seconds off Bridget Lowrie's time.
So for this year the 'silver frying pan' returns to America.