Ascot Rotarians and friends get their New Year off to a flying start, raising over £8,000!

The 21st Annual Fancy Dress Wheelbarrow Race, organised by the Rotary Club of Ascot, was held at mid-day on Monday 2nd January in glorious sunshine, after an icy early morning.

19 teams of 4 people braved the elements and showed their ingenuity in dressing themselves and their wheelbarrows. They were started at roughly half-minute intervals from the Sunninghill Car Park to complete the one mile course around Sunninghill, stopping at 4 drinks stations to consume half a pint of beer, soft drink or water at each.

Over 30 children participated and all under 18 wore wrist bands to prevent under- age drinking. The drinks stations were at the Dukes head Pub, a station on Truss Hill Road, provided by the Sunninghill Comrades Club, the Dog and Partridge Pub and the Carpenters Arms. At each they were given evidence of having stopped and imbibed, by having a Rotary roundel affixed to their Father Christmas paddle, which those in the wheelbarrows carried.

A Hog Roast was laid on by the Carpenters Arms, who also hosted the Auction and prizegiving and raffle drawing. Prizes were awarded for the Fastest Men’s Team, for the third year running to ‘Badly Dressed Men’, in an amazing time of 8 minutes 30 seconds. In exactly the same time were the winners of the Fastest Mixed Team, ‘Hikers’, a team from the Scouts. The ladies were again well represented by the same fastest females as last year – ‘The Scarlet Ladies’, who had changed to a darker shade from their ‘Pink’ last year. Theirs was also a fantastic time of 10 minutes 30 seconds.

Competition for the Best Fancy Dress was, as always, very strong and ‘The Red Barrow Display Team’ won the day. Last, but certainly not least, was the team to raise the Most Sponsorship and again, this was a repeat of last year, with ‘The Hope Trust’ persuading their supporters to part with £600! 

The annual event is in aid of the Ascot District Day Centre for the elderly in Sunninghill and again, it is intended to present the Centre with a cheque for £7,000.

A great deal of hard work goes into the success of this venture with some 50 – 60 people helping on the day. Funds are raised through Sponsorship, both major and minor.  The main sponsor again this year was De Vere Venues, sadly for the last time as they are shortly leaving the area.  Other major sponsors were Ascot Racecourse, Carpenters Arms, Strutt and Parker and Budgens, with nearly 30 local businesses contributing through advertising boxes in the programme, as well as the team sponsorship.

Funds were also raised through an Auction and Raffle as well as collections in advance of the day outside Waitrose and on the day, at the Race.

Altogether another wonderful community occasion, organised by the Rotary Club, was enjoyed by all, including several hundred spectators and grateful thanks go to all involved.

David Mear, Rotary Club of Ascot