Taking hay while sun shines can be thirsty work at 41st Oxenhope Straw Race

UPHILL STRUGGLE:  Spider-Man gets a helping hand as he struggles with his bale up a hill for the annual fundraiser. PIC: Simon Hulme
UPHILL STRUGGLE: Spider-Man gets a helping hand as he struggles with his bale up a hill for the annual fundraiser. PIC: Simon Hulme
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Superheoes, snowmen and leprechauns were among those who hefted weighty bales of straw over two and a half miles on the edge of the Pennines for an annual village fundraiser at the weekend.

Amid warnings to wear sunscreen, competitors in costumes lined up for the 41st Oxenhope Straw Race in West Yorkshire yesterday and it proved thirsty work in the summer sun.

But it was not just the fair-weathered conditions that had the participants stopping off for a drink along the route. Liquid refreshment is mandatory for this testing event, as the popular straw race sees the teams of two stopping at five venues around the circuit to consume a pint of beer at each.

The brainchild of two men who originally made a bet to race between pubs carrying a bale, the scale of the event has grown over the decades and sees each incarnation raise thousands of pounds for local good causes.

Early reports during yesterday’s event indicated that at least £5,000 had been raised with both the local Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice and the Haworth Riding for the Disabled group standing to benefit from this year’s community contest.

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