St Albans pancake races could be battered if new organiser not found

PUBLISHED: 12:00 20 July 2016

Contestants in the 2016 St Albans pancake race

Contestants in the 2016 St Albans pancake race

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Pancake racers could have flipped their last if a new organiser is not found for the annual spectacle held in the city centre.

Contestants in the 2016 St Albans flipping pancake walking raceContestants in the 2016 St Albans flipping pancake walking race

St Albans council’s community engagement team has been running the February Pancake Races for many years but wants to stand down from the role.

So a new organiser is being sought to take over but despite an initial appeal in February, no suitable candidate has been found.

Relaunching the appeal this week, the council admits that unless someone steps up to the frying pan, the pancake races might not take place.

The Shrove Tuesday contest attracts plenty of spectators and more than two dozen teams from local businesses, charities, community groups and other organisations, comprising around 100 competitors.

Contestants in the 2016 St Albans flipping pancake walking raceContestants in the 2016 St Albans flipping pancake walking race

Competitors are allowed to wear fancy dress and corporate branding to publicise their organisation and there are two races they can enter - the traditional running race and the Flippin’ Walker race - held in front of St Albans Town Hall. The winners receive a special frying pan trophy.

As well as the fun side of the pancake race, it also provides opportunities to raise funds for charity, promote an organisation and engage with the local community.

Cllr Beric Read, the council’s portfolio holder for community engagement and localism, said: “There is tremendous potential to build up the Pancake Races and make them more special.

“They could be used, for instance, as a major charitable fundraiser and as a way for an organisation to raise its profile and improve its image.

“We feel it cannot be further developed while under council management and a new group is needed to take over and inject some fresh ideas and energy.”

Cllr Read added: “It will be a real shame if the event disappears, so I appeal to any charity or group which is interested in running the event, to get in touch with me to discuss their ideas.”

The council’s community engagement team has put together a number of documents to assist the new event managers. They will also be available to help with the first year.

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