Beds, Herts & Bucks

'World's oldest' pancake race takes place in Olney

Race winner Devon Byrne with verger Ken Noon
Image caption Winner Devon Byrne was competing in the Olney pancake race for the first time

A Buckinghamshire town has held what is thought to be the world's oldest pancake race.

The race in Olney dates back to 1445 and is believed to have begun with a townswoman arriving late for the Shriving service at the parish church.

The winner, 18-year-old Devon Byrne, completed the race in a time of 58.5 seconds.

After crossing the finishing line, Ms Byrne was greeted by verger Ken Noon with the traditional kiss of peace.

The 24 female competitors included 80-year-old Isabel Ager-Righinioti, who finished in last place.

Many ran the race wearing aprons and headscarves and each carried a frying pan with a pancake.

Race organiser Ian Ford said it was important to keep the race tradition going in the town.

"We should be thankful that we still have some good old-fashioned English traditions remaining and celebrate them," he said.

The race was followed by a Shriving service at the Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul, where the prizes, including a silver frying pan, were presented.

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