NEWBURY’S popular annual pancake race had to be called off after torrential rain meant it was too dangerous for teams to take part.
However, the bad weather failed to dampen spirits on Shrove Tuesday and many still gathered at St Nicolas’ Church Hall, where Soroptimists served up a hearty pancake lunch to raise funds for The Rosemary Appeal.
Guests had the option of choosing a meat or ricotta savoury pancake, followed by the traditional lemon and sugar filling for dessert, with tea or coffee.
Newbury mayor David Fenn, mayoress Marion Fenn and deputy mayor Margo Payne were all in attendance at the lunch, which raised £260 for the appeal.
Katy Hawthorne, who helped organise the event, thanked race sponsors Accounting and Taxation Centre, Newbury Business Improvement District (BID), Briars Dental Centre and Nick Herne Building Services, whose donations raised £200.
She also thanked Henwick Properties and Gecko Communications, who had planned to award the esteemed prize of Newbury’s ‘top tosser’ and the best-dressed team.
Entries from teams raised a further £560 for The Rosemary Appeal, a £4.5m campaign to build a state-of-the-art renal dialysis and cancer care unit at the West Berkshire Community Hospital, bringing the total amount on the day to £1,020.
For volunteers, the lunch was an opportune moment to remember Soroptimist Sylvia Grimwood, who died just after Christmas.
Mrs Grimwood would make an impressive 400 pancakes for the annual event every year and this year her daughter Jenny continued her mother’s tradition.
Mrs Hawthorne said: “It was a massive disappointment having to cancel the races today, but it was obviously necessary, considering the weather conditions and the slippery Market Place surface.
“I’m sure many of the teams had wonderful fancy dress outfits planned and were disappointed not to be able to show them off.
“Sadly, we have decided not to re-schedule the races as it is all too logistically demanding.
“Please put Shrove Tuesday, March 5, 2019 in your diaries, when I hope the weather will be kinder to us.”