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YOU ARE HERE > COMMUNITY > FESTIVALS & FUN DAYS > PRAM RACE HISTORY
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Kent
Edenbridge Pram Race History
Kent
 
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The good old pram races that heralded such a fun day in Edenbridge are to be revived after many years of this tremendous event being...lost in time.

The Edenbridge Chamber of Commerce have kindly stepped in and are determined to bring back this great day for all those residents in the town, the proposed event will take place on Bank Holiday Monday, 30th May, as part of the Eden Valley Summer Festival.

For those who can remember it, it was a great day in cheering on your favourite "Pusher and Baby" who took part in the event. Especially seeing workmates and friends, at an age when they should know better - dress like a baby, with the "Baby" generally wearing only a big nappy or towel, bib, a hat and a dummy.

Edenbridge Pram Race

Many dressed in strange and wonderful costumes relevant to the day, or from the future or the past, in funny, humourous and stupid costumes that would make everyone roar with laughter.

The many differing forms of transport were used, of course the good old pram which was the main important item to be begged, borrowed or otherwise? But others used just wheels - any wheels, whether fat or thin, large or small. Skateboards were used and secured somehow to planks of wood or a cut down pallet, others used a wooden or metal box on wheels, or an invalid chair, in fact anything was invented to hold the "baby" as long as it had wheels on it and could be pushed along the road!

The pram race began at The Swan Pub in Marlpit Hill, where Wally and Doreen Foster welcomed all the fancy dressed participants into their pub to enjoy the first drink of the day!

Many dozens jammed into the pub to get their first beer or two, getting them in the mood for the race coming up. All enjoyed chatting and taking the "Mickey" out of each other's costumes as they prepared for the big run to the next pub, not so far along the road.

 
Edenbridge Pram race in the early days
Many Grateful Thanks to  - Neil Foster and Dot Quy who supplied images of the Pram Race.
 

In the early days a celebrity was invited to start the race, one year, Sally James was there from the children's favourite TV programme, Tiswas, to start the race and set the teams off on their long run. When the whistle blew, all the "babies and pushers" were off, the pushers got a speedy move-on, swerving to avoid one another in a frantic rush to get in front, the crowds cheered their hearts out as they all headed for The Albion, only a matter of 50 yards away, where Harry and Joan in fits of laughter pulled pints in a panic to get them to gulp the next beer down and get them on their way down Marlpit Hill in a mad frenzy of laughter and crashes.

How much beer was drunk by those taking part was anyones guess - the run down the hill would certainly tell.

Along the route, down the old Roman road and under the two railway bridges, the crowds cheered them on as they made every effort to reach the next pub which no doubt seemed so far away in the distance as they pushed like mad idiots to get there for the next drink!

Hundreds of the towns residents stood by the roadside all along the route cheering, whistling and clapping as the many prams and weird and wonderful contraptions dashed past them in a frenzy, pushing their hearts out and legs wobbling like jelly to get in front. 

Some never made it as wheels came off, some crashed as they lost control, babies fell out to the roar of the crowds laughing, but fortunately no one was injured that badly, ending up with only cuts and bruises, those who were determined to carry on, jumped back in their pram and done their best to get moving again to the next stop.

The British Legion took the brunt of the influx of competitors as the "beer gusslers" poured into the Legion for another gulp of English ale or lager, then on to the next stop, past the police station, where the officers were looking on in amazement and probably thinking - "who can we nick who's had too much drink, and in control of a moving vehicle?"...with a smirk on their faces!

Once they arrived at the next pub...The White Horse, the "babies" leapt out their prams along with their pushers and rushed in the pub and guzzled a pint (or two) ready for the next eagerly waited - watering hole less than a minute away...The Men's Club, there to run into the club and readily grab the next drink, slug it down, jump in their contraption and head across the road to Ye Old Crown, from there with their pints still rushing around in their heads, some still trying to swallow their beer to reach the next pub, for it was only another few seconds push - depending on how much each pusher had drunk before they reached the The King & Queen in the Square, there to swallow another beer or more, in an untidy swallow with beer running all down their costumes, only to jump back in their prams for the final few hundred yards to reach the next pub, over the town bridge to the The Old House at Home - now - The Old Eden.

 

The exhustion was showing on the pushers faces as they were panting, completely out of breath and utterly tired out, many well intoxicated. But with the crowds cheering them on that the end was in sight, all those that could muster up the energy rushed on to reach the final pub of the race, only seconds away The Star Inn.

Most of the pushers had basically "had it" they were jubilant that they had nearly reached the end and the crowds there gave them a stupendous welcome and applause.

For those who could down another beer certainly did so, for many others, the pushers, lay on the pavement to get their breathe back until they were able to stagger in The Star and quench their thirst with one or more beers, no doubt forced down to get the feeling of the day's enjoyment...then the last final push back over the bridge into the market yard where Budgens used to be... to the finishing line. The end of the pram race was over, the winners were announced to the jubilation of the crowds gathered there who  were hooting, shouting, clapping, whistling and cheering their mates...who had at long last made it to the finish!!!

Oxted Pram Race
This Image; is by courtesy and thanks to Sue Wallace and the
Commitee of the Oxted, Surrey, Pram Race

There to be presented with a prize for the winner - bottles of scotch, and a prize for the best dressed pram or whatever contraption they had devised for the race.

It was certainly heralded as a great fun day for all those who took part and for the hundreds of locals who shouted their support.

This was Edenbridge in it's fun day, a day that brought everyone out to great enjoyment and pleasure for the town!

It will surely be another "Great Day" for Edenbridge and for all those who take part, and for those all along the route who support them this year in 2011... We wish you all "Good Pushing and Good Luck to You All...!!!

 

Images of this event from the years past are wanted to display on "Live" our town website www.edenbridgetown.com  if you have any we can put online please e-mail ian@kentishtowns.com or phone 01732 864070...Thankyou!

 

If you feel that you want to enter your team for this exceptional race with "your baby", then please contact the Festival Organiser - Jill Lynch on 01732 865770 or by e-mail - jill.lynch@btinternet.com or Laura Mendes on 01732 864878.

 

Many Grateful Thanks to  - Neil Foster and Dot Quy who supplied images of the Pram Race, and to Wally & Doreen Foster in supporting the race, as well as all those publican's along the route who gave so generously to make this event possible "The Great Edenbridge Pram Race"...We Thankyou All...!

 

The Eden Valley Festival desperately needs your support for this event, so for all those in the town and surrounding areas please give your support and expertise in making this...a fantastic day for everyone, so contact these ladies and get your team signed up for one of the best fun days of your life...!!! 

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