25 years ago this week: Thursday, March 5, 1987

THE first Shrove Tuesday pancake race through the streets of Alnwick in five years turned into a spectacular flop this week, with only one entrant taking part.

But the organisers, the town’s Chamber of Trade, have vowed to have another go next year and have called on public houses and hotels to show more support for the event.

Crowds lined the street at 1.30pm ready to see the race, from inside the Hotspur Tower, to the top of Narrowgate, outside Alnwick Castle.

But to the organisers’ dismay, only one person, 18-year-old Philip Coxford, of Alnwick, was on hand to race.

Nevertheless, after Common Bellman John Stevens had made the official starting announcements, he soon set Philip on his way, and he completed the course without too many problems. Philip covered the course in one minute 40 seconds, tossed the pancake every 10 yards or so, and amazingly arrived at the finish with the whole thing intact, thus avoiding possible disqualification.

Speaking afterwards, and still resplendent in his chef’s outfit, with tiny painted moustache, Philip said he had entered the race for a laugh, and although embarrassed by being the only competitor, he said it felt fine once he started running.

And commenting on the course itself, which involved the awkward climb up Narrowgate towards the finish, Philip said: “It was a bit knackering towards the end.”

Ironically Philip works at the Tavern Restaurant, which is run by the race organiser Melvyn Hornsby, of the Chamber of Trade.

Mr Hornsby said afterwards that more pubs and hotels should have supported the race which would have brought them more publicity.