In England, a children’s pancake race was cancelled when insurance premiums soared and risk assessors demanded 25 marshals for the 50-yard course. Traditionally, women run with a frying pan and pancake, flipping a certain number of times as they go.
Children at Okehampton Primary School in Devon had been looking forward to the annual event on Shrove Tuesday next week.
But the 80-yard run in the town’s Red Lion Yard has had to be cancelled because a risk assessment had revealed that 25 marshalls would have to line the race route to ensure public safety.
And last year’s £75 public liability insurance bill has rocketed to £280.
With publicity, the premium is down and the race is on again with a limited number of participants, a limited number of spectators and a mandatory “first aider” with a first aid box. A firm that makes crepe pans will pay the insurance premium.
A much more dangerous custom is the Shrove Tide Football Match held in Ashbourne, Derbyshire.
Here the men of Ashbourne play football through the streets of the town, in a no rules (thankfully murder and manslaughter are barred), free-for-all. It is the world’s oldest, largest, longest and maddest football game. The game takes place between the Up’ards and Down’ards (two mills three miles apart which form the goal posts) . . .