IT’S probably too late to be accepted as an Olympic sport but Abingdon’s inaugral World Bun Throwing Championships kicked off in style.
The contest at Abingdon Vale Cricket Club aimed to find two people to take part in the tradition of hurling buns from the roof of County Hall.
The unique celebration has been marking royal occasions since George III’s coronation in 1761 and the next shower of buns will commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in June.
On Saturday afternoon hundreds of people turned out – including entrants from Germany and Japan – to see who could throw their edible missiles the farthest.
The winners were Selina Wallis, whose bun sailed 29.7m, and Danny Parry who chalked up an impressive 57.8m – a couple of metres longer than one half of the Kassam Stadium pitch.
Under 18s won’t be allowed on the roof come June 3, but Graham Beer won the under 15s category with 52.8m and Tiego Logan was crowned under 10s winner with a 20.8m chuck.
Seven-year-old Samuel Axe from Abingdon was among the first children to chance their arm.
He said: “It was good, really good fun.”
His mum Helen Twinn said: “It’s a really nice day out. I saw an advert on a board and decided to come down. We went last year to catch the buns from the town hall and we loved it.”
Abingdon-born Richard Gottfried, 31, travelled from Luton in Bedfordshire to be at the event and threw 21.5m.
He said: “I’ve been to every bun throwing since 1980 when I was a kid in mum’s arms, and I’m looking forward to the event in June.
“I think anything over 20m is good but I haven’t done any practice – I’ve done plenty of catching buns but it’s not often you’re asked to throw them.”
Niall Campbell, 11, managed an impressive 29m throw.
He said: “I’m very happy with that. It helped to squeeze the buns down before throwing them.”
More than 500 buns were sent skywards on Saturday. Entrants were charged £1 and an estimated £320 raised will go towards the Felix Fund, a charity for bomb-disposal experts, the War Widows’ Association and Macmillan Nurses.
Abingdon Mayor Mike Badcock, who opened the competition with a throw of about 19m, said: “It was wonderful. It was a really relaxed atmosphere and everyone enjoyed it. There were youngsters there who could really, really throw.”
He added: “It was the kind of event only the English could do.”