Drivers won't get shirty over Bampton's annual charity race

Don Rouse with Serene Curtis, right, and Kofi Hancock in the pram all set for the Original Great Shirt Race

Don Rouse with Serene Curtis, right, and Kofi Hancock in the pram all set for the Original Great Shirt Race

First published in News
Last updated
Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Witney and West Oxfordshire. Call me on 01865 425483

FOR years, traffic in Bampton has been brought to a standstill while nightshirt-wearing villagers run between pubs pushing prams and downing beer for an annual race.

This year, a new route has been designed for the Original Great Shirt Race that will allow traffic to flow throughout the event on Saturday, May 24.

But hopes that the 62nd race will be graced by its first international competitor were dashed after a Japanese TV star pulled out.

Don Rouse, a member of organisers the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Junketing (SPAJERS), said: “We had to close the roads, which meant no traffic could get through and caused motorists to get very irate.

“So we’ve provided Bampton with a ring-road bypass system and the race will take part within it.”

The contest is believed to date back centuries but was revived in 1953 as part of the Queen’s coronation celebrations.

It involves teams of two people racing around the village in nightshirts, or other fancy dress, with one pushing the other in a ruck, pram or ‘chariot’.

Each team has to drink half a pint of ale in the seven stops – either outside pubs or houses with tables – on the route. About 120 people take part in three events, including an adult race and two races for primary and secondary schoolchildren with soft drinks.

It raises about £800 each year for the SPAJERS, which uses funds to help elderly people in the village.

The new route – dubbed the “Bampton bypass” – has been created after years of closing roads intermittently without diversions.

For the past 10 years, the race has started outside Rosebank care home in the High Street, but it will now begin in Bridge Street.

Mr Rouse said he had been contacted by a Japanese TV company proposing that Daisuke Miyagawa would take part in the race.

The TV star previously competed in the Cooper’s Hill cheese-rolling contest in Gloucestershire and had earmarked the Bampton race as part of a programme in which he tours unusual British events.

Mr Rouse said: “Obviously we don’t normally get Japanese people taking part but it would have put the word out about one of Bampton’s quirky traditions.”

The event starts with a fancy dress parade and judging at 6.45pm. Races start at 7.15pm and last until about 8pm.

  • Our top stories:

Paloma Faith and Groove Armada to play at Alex and Jamie's 'Feastival'

Oxford Mail: Paloma Faith's new UK tour includes Reading date

12:10am Wednesday 4th March 2015

DANCE superstars Groove Armada and pop icon Paloma Faith and have been announced as headliners for this summer's Big Feastival.

Bullfinch report reveals many more victims as mother calls for resignations

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Tuesday 3rd March 2015

A VICTIM of the Bullfinch gang and her mother demanded that heads should roll at Oxfordshire County Council ahead of today’s report into the abuse scandal.

Fashion guru Anna Wintour arrives in city for Oxford Union talk

Oxford Mail:

6:36pm Tuesday 3rd March 2015

Formidable fashion icon and Editor-in-Chief of US Vogue Anna Wintour was ushered into Oxford Union for a talk tonight.

University land pledge offers villagers hopes of flood relief

Oxford Mail:

5:00pm Tuesday 3rd March 2015

A £120M proposed flood relief channel running through Kennington has been welcomed after it was revealed university chiefs will help out.

Bullfinch: Authorities missed opportunities to uncover grooming gangs

Oxford Mail:

12:59pm Tuesday 3rd March 2015

A story rounding up the report and reaction to this morning's Bullfinch Serious Case Review.

New loan signing Gnanduillet beefs up Oxford United's strikeforce

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Tuesday 3rd March 2015

Armand Gnanduillet is available to make his Oxford United debut against Morecambe tonight after joining on loan until the end of the season.

Commuters are left bemused by award for rail operator

Oxford Mail: A First Great Western High Speed Train

9:30am Tuesday 3rd March 2015

A COMMUTER group said it “struggled to understand” how First Great Western has won a major industry award.

Superstar rapper talks up a storm with students

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Tuesday 3rd March 2015

HE might have been The College Dropout, but Kayne West caused a storm with university students yesterday.

Scales of justice for man who ate live goldfish then posted a video

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Tuesday 3rd March 2015

A MAN who swallowed a live goldfish has been ordered to carry out 120 hours unpaid work and banned from keeping fish for five years.

Almost all children get a place in school of choice

Oxford Mail: New Oxfordshire county council logo

8:30am Tuesday 3rd March 2015

MORE than 90 per cent of primary school leavers in Oxfordshire will go to their first-preference secondary school this year.

'Private education is a waste of money' head tells parents

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Tuesday 3rd March 2015

THE headteacher of a Headington school has said parents should not “waste their money” on private education after it received a glowing Ofsted report.

Vintage car convoy celebrates automotive history

Oxford Mail:

7:30am Tuesday 3rd March 2015

THE streets of Oxfordshire were transported back in time yesterday as a convoy of vintage cars made its way through the county.

Blue plaque honour for Honor at her former school

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Tuesday 3rd March 2015

A FORMER Wychwood School pupil and prominent 20th-century scientist was honoured with a blue plaque yesterday.

Rare Charles I coin could make £50,000 at auction

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Tuesday 3rd March 2015

A RARE £1 coin dating back to the English Civil War could fetch up to £50,000 at auction.

Comments

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree