NEVER let the rules stand in the way of civic pride was the guiding principle in yesterday s civic pancake race in Huntingdon High Street. Ramsey s deputy mayor, Councillor Ian Walker, made it quite clear even before the other contestants turned up that,

The winners show off their medals

NEVER let the rules stand in the way of civic pride was the guiding principle in yesterday's civic pancake race in Huntingdon High Street.

Ramsey's deputy mayor, Councillor Ian Walker, made it quite clear even before the other contestants turned up that, having lost out to cheats last year, he had learned his lesson for this.

There was no way he was going to bother with the requirement to toss the pancake twice during the 80-metre race.

But then, completely disregarding a pre-race injunction from deputy town clerk Karen Cameron, the representatives of St Neots and Godmanchester had no plans to be tossers either.

Careful you don't drop it...

Around 100 hardy souls braved a sunny but bitterly cold morning to line the course between the gazebo and the town hall. Some of them also took part in later races.

The annual Shrove Tuesday event theoretically pits the Mayors of Huntingdonshire's market towns against each other. In the event, only two mayors turned up and just one of them, Godmanchester's Councillor Richard Butcher, took part - and second place. St Ives and Chatteris were also invited, but failed to turn up for the toss.

Huntingdon's civic leader, Councillor Helen Mallett, had hurt a foot and was unable to find another councillor to stand in for her. "They're all too old," she muttered, perhaps a tad unkindly, given that Huntingdon mayors have won the event for the past two years.

With Councillors Walker and Butcher regaled in suits and chains of office, St Neots's deputy, Councillor Derek Cooper, looked positively dressed the part in a sweatshirt, tracksuit bottoms and training shoes.

He started the race at a spanking pace but was quickly overhauled by the younger men, with the pride of Ramsey completing the toss-free dash a clear winner.

For his pains Councillor Walker left with a medal and four creme eggs - and almost without the overcoat he had handed to the starter before the race. But coat of arms and overcoat were eventually reunited, so all was well.

Councillor Butcher qualified for just one creme egg, and Cllr Cooper was offered one as a consolation for missing out on a medal.

The civic rivalry was followed by more closely contested races - a team relay contest between the Market Inn and Cambridge Building Society's management team, adults from the Leonard Cheshire home in Brampton in their wheelchairs, and youngsters from Spring Common, Thongsley Fields Primary, Hinchingbrooke and St Peter's schools.

FLIPPING GREAT: At least entrants from local schools paid more heed to the rules than some of their elders. Schools winners were: Spring Common - Oliver Wright, Connor Ruddell, Faisil Siddique, Ricky Kemp, Callum Leonard, Shereen Raja, Liam Twigden, Darren Hackett, Sukan Vathavoorar, Daniel Cowell, with runners-up Gordon Mitchell, Owen Allen, Alex Smith-Kemp, Thomas Baxter Aiden O'Shea, Kieran Gomez, Destiny Mitchell, Daniel Freeman, Daniel Degrussa and Jessie Coates; Thongsley Fields - Mary Young, Jack Bond, with runners-up David Grant and Victoria McNamara; St.Peter's School - Hannah Righini-Brand, Alex Clipsham, with runners-up Jessica Stilton and Michael Drage; Hinchingbrooke - Clare Sheffield, Olivia Salour, Natasha Levesey, Tom Morgan, with runners-up Ellie Rowan, Joanna Robbins, Verity Hart and James Price. The Market Inn team of William Collins, Amy Foster, Lucy Diggins and David Norman won the retail race against Cambridge Building Society.