Wheely good race day to celebrate New Year

The ladies' only race gets under way.
The ladies' only race gets under way.

A dry day helped to attract a big crowd for a traditional event.

And they enjoyed the first ever ladies’ only contest at the Ponteland Wheelbarrow Race on New Year’s Day.

The 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.

It began with a short parade of fancy dress barrows led by John Morris, who once again took on the traditional role of Lord Mayor of Ponteland, the current Mayor of Ponteland and Miss Northumberland Galaxy.

As in previous years, the participants and many of those who attended put some money in the collection buckets.

This year’s chosen charities were Ballboys, a testicular cancer charity and St Oswald’s Hospice, and a record amount of more than £2,000 was raised on the day.

There were 42 entrants for the 2016 races and the senior race for men and mixed teams was won by Daniel Herlbauer and Graham Crammond in an impressive time of six minutes and 36 seconds.

Mike Russell and Mark Turnbull (seven minutes and four seconds) were runners-up and Rob Laverick and Woody (seven minutes and 10 seconds) finished third.

Dave Taylor and Claire Richardson came last, but Mr Taylor was carrying a kitchen sink on his back as he has done for some of his fund-raising runs over the years.

The ladies’ race was won by Joanna Shellcross and Micki Herlbauer and Lewis and Poppy Samson were victorious in the junior race.

One of the organisers, Andy Anderson, said: “We were delighted with the turnout and the record fund-raising total.

“As well as the serious racing, a few of the people taking part wore eye-catching fancy dress outfits.

“As a new initiative this year, there were 14 sponsored wheelbarrows. They were bought by local businesses and decorated with appropriate logos.

“We would like to thank all those who participated and the clubs that supported the event, including Elswick Harriers and The Barn.

“The Blackbird Inn gave us great support, donated several prizes and provided an outdoor barbecue and bar on the day.”

The wheelbarrows for the races are loaned each year from Greenham Tools of Gateshead and Jewsons of Ponteland.

The rest of the top ten in the main race and top five in the ladies’ and junior races were as follows.

Senior: 4 Jamie Taylor and Tom Shield, 5 Paul and Jack Naughton, 6 Alan Redman and Andy Pybus, 7 Chris and Michael Searle, 8 Matt Funch and Stuart Hendrie, 9 Tom Cochrane and Cherry Briggs, 10 Dan Harrison and Craig Robinson.

Ladies: 2 Mary Lisle and Catherine Lee, 3 Victoria Bramble and Joanne Brown, 4 Andrea Banner and Emma Turnbull, 5 Victoria Grace and Tina Kelly.

Junior: 2 Polly Reed and Louise Ellis, 3 Alex Russell and George Turnbull, 4 Zara and Charlotte Naughton, 5 Sam and Amy Geddes.