Wheelie good turnout for barrow racing

Andy Lawson of Ponteland Rugby Club, John Morris and Chris Norris present ladies only race winners Jo Shallcross and Michi Herlbauer with their trophies.

Andy Lawson of Ponteland Rugby Club, John Morris and Chris Norris present ladies only race winners Jo Shallcross and Michi Herlbauer with their trophies.

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Hundreds of people enjoyed another successful staging of the Ponteland Wheelbarrow Race.

The annual New Year’s Day event, organised by Ponteland 41 Club and Ponteland Rugby Club, takes place over a mile-long course which starts and ends at the Blackbird Inn.

The start of the open race.

The start of the open race.

There is a children’s race and a ladies’ only contest, as well as the main race. John Morris once again took on the traditional role of Lord Mayor of Ponteland and the current Mayor of Ponteland, Coun Carl Rawlings, was also present to support the event.

As in previous years, the participants and many of those who attended put some cash in the collection buckets and funds were also collected through sponsored wheelbarrows.

Almost £2,000 in total was raised for this year’s chosen charities. The money will go to St Oswald’s Hospice and Tynedale Hospice at Home – the area it covers includes Ponteland.

There were more than 30 entries for the main open race and the winners were James and Richard Leiper in an impressive time of six minutes and 56 seconds.

The start of the ladies only contest.

The start of the ladies only contest.

Mike Russell and Mark Turnbull (seven minutes and eight seconds) were runners-up and Paul and Jack Naughton (seven minutes and 10 seconds) finished third.

The ladies’ race was won by Jo Shallcross and Michi Herlbauer in eight minutes and five seconds. Mary Lisle and Alison Dixon (nine minutes and five seconds) and Kerry Old and Elspeth Aspinall (nine minutes and 35 seconds) were second and third respectively.

Some of the people taking part wore eye-catching fancy dress outfits.

One of the organisers, Andy Anderson, said: “We were delighted with the turnout and the amount of money raised for the two charities.

From left, the current Mayor of Ponteland, Coun Carl Rawlings, John Morris, who once again took on the traditional role of Lord Mayor of Ponteland, and Chris Norris, chairman of Ponteland 41 Club.

From left, the current Mayor of Ponteland, Coun Carl Rawlings, John Morris, who once again took on the traditional role of Lord Mayor of Ponteland, and Chris Norris, chairman of Ponteland 41 Club.

“It was great to see so many entries for the races – we only had two wheelbarrows left.

“We would like to thank all those who participated, including the clubs that supported the event and the businesses that sponsored a wheelbarrow.”

Special thanks were given to Jewsons of Ponteland for providing the wheelbarrows and the Blackbird Inn – its bar was open throughout the event and mulled wine and BBQ food was available before, during and after the races.

Dave Taylor and Clare Richardson came last in the open race, but Mr Taylor was once again carrying a kitchen sink on his back.

Open race winners James and Richard Leiper receive their trophies and prize from John Morris and Chris Norris.

Open race winners James and Richard Leiper receive their trophies and prize from John Morris and Chris Norris.

He has worked as a chef at St Oswald’s Hospice for the past 25 years and has taken part in many events to raise funds for the charity.

He said: “The wheelbarrow race is such a tradition in Ponteland and it really brings the whole community together.

“There is always a fantastic atmosphere and it’s a brilliant way to kick off a new year and raise funds for the hospice.

“I’ve done it with the sink on my back for three years now, so I like to think I’ve perfected the technique.”

The top three in the junior race were as follows: 1 Amy Geddes and Drew Slater, 2 Polly Reed and Louise Ellis, 3 Poppy Old and Bella Russell.