CHILDREN will take the reins as a bank holiday tradition returns to Bampton.

The West Oxfordshire village hosts its annual Donkey Derby on Monday, with parents placing bets as jockeys as young as eight race around Stanford's Field.

Don Rouse, who has been involved in the event since it was formed in the late 1960s, admitted his only fear was ensuring people could get to the village on the day.

Sewer connection works have shut part of the A4095 at the north end of the village since August 12, with the closure expected to be in place until tomorrow.

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Mr Rouse joked: "At the moment, all of the SPAJERS committee are going to church and praying the roadworks will be finished by next Monday.

"We're all geared up and ready to go."

The jockeys must be from the town and at least eight-years-old, but weighing under eight stone.

Winners receive a prize of £2 and parents can place bets on each race, while there will be a variety of stalls and other activities.

The event is run by Bampton’s Society for the Preservation of Ancient Junketing (SPAJERS), which was formed in 1953 and also runs the village’s famous shirt race that takes place in May.

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That sees competitors dressed in magnificent costumes ride a range of spectacular chariots through the streets.

The society aims to benefit the village's senior citizens, with the proceeds from this year's Donkey Derby going towards a choice of two summer outings for the elderly.

Traditionally, SPAJERS organises a trip to the seaside in Weston Super Mare on the Wednesday after the derby, but those who prefer to stay closer to home can go to Buscot Manor, near Faringdon.

The first race at this year's Donkey Derby begins at 2pm.