Northumberland’s wheelbarrow race returns on New Year’s Day to raise money for charity

Northumberland’s wheelbarrow race returns on New Year’s Day to raise money for charity

Dating back to the 14th century and attracting thousands every year, the Northumberland Race returns on New Year’s Day with the aim of raising money for charitable causes.

The Ponteland Wheelbarrow Race already has several teams queuing up to take part in the circuit which starts and finishes at the Blackbird Pub on North Road. Organized by Ponteland 41 Club with support from Ponteland Rugby Club and a number of volunteers, the race uses sponsorship and entry fees to support local charities.

According to legend, the history of the race can be traced back to the 14th century, when there were severe shortages of food and fuel during the harsh winter. The local chief, St. John de Hornby, gathered the villagers and took them hunting, using barrows to bring home their spoils.

Since then, the barrow race has become an annual tradition, with this year’s chosen charities once again St Oswald’s Hospice and Tynedale Hospice at Home, and organizer Steve Robert is hoping for another successful year, as is Stuart Young, owner of the Blackbird pub.

Stuart said: “Blackbird is a really important part of the local community, so taking part in the barrow race is something we love doing every year. It always has a great turnout and we love being able to welcome everyone into the pub before both and after the event.”

The annual Ponteland rickshaw race has begun in the new year. (Photo: Newcastle Chronicle)

“We are extremely grateful to the Puntland 41 Club, its supporters and the people of Puntland for holding the annual rickshaw race in aid of St Oswald’s Hospice since 2016. As a caring home,” said Steve Edusei, CEO of St Oswald’s Hospice. For patients and families from across the North East, including Ponteland, we are constantly looking for ways to build our services so we can better care for our local communities when they need it most.

“We simply couldn’t do it without the support of events like this. I’m often amazed by the ambition and creativity shown in fundraising efforts, and the Puntland Wheelbarrow Race is no exception.

“I hope everyone has a great time at this wonderful and quirky event. What better way to start the new year!”

Women’s race. (Photo: Newcastle Chronicle)

Danielle Harvey, Community and Stewardship Manager at St Oswald’s Hospice, added: “The Wheelbarrow Race is a fantastic event that brings the Ponteland community together to start the new year and is something we are very honored and proud to be a part of.”

Matthew Crowe, fundraising officer at Tynedale Hospice at Home, said: “We are honored to be chosen as one of the chosen charities again. The event has a great community spirit and the organizers work hard to bring this annual tradition back every year.”

“The funds raised through this event make a huge difference and go directly towards nursing care, patient transport and bereavement support services, helping families in Pontland and across West Northumberland.”

This year’s Ponteland Wheelbarrow Race begins with the parade at noon, followed by the junior race at 12.10pm, the women’s race at 12.20pm and the open race at 12.40pm, with presentations to the winners at 1.15pm.

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