PICTURES: Star Wars visits Earth for village’s annual pram race

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A rare dry day brought hundreds of people out of their homes to cheer on runners and riders in the East Hoathly Boxing Day Pram Race.

Villagers reckoned this year’s charity fund-raiser, organised as usual by the East Hoathly and Halland Carnival Society, was its best ever.

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An assorted stable of weird and wonderful home-made vehicles lined up at the noon start of the annual race from the King’s Head where a spokeswoman told the Express: “I think we served more people this year than we’ve ever served on Boxing Day. It was a terrific race.”

A Star Wars entrant; ‘baby Annabel;’ The Inbetweeners;’ a full orchestra with conductor, grand piano, trumpet and violin; ‘Jack in the box’ and what looked like a fire tender (but might well have not been) joined others to charge down the village high street - all for a good cause.

Afterwards, well-earned pints were enjoyed at the start and the finish line at the Forester’s Arms.

The village pram race is a now a regular Christmas fixture and people taking part admit it’s the best antidote to an excess of turkey, plum pudding and that wedge of Stilton.

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Costumes are dreamt up a day or so after the previous year’s race and painstaking work goes on throughout the year - under the strictest secrecy - to ensure that even the last home get a massive cheer. The village high street is always lined six deep and watchers join racers for a welcome pint or two in the pubs afterwards.

Money raised goes to swell the coffers of local charities and also to help contribute towards the autumn bonfire.

Robert Wallace, boss of the 1648 Brewing company situated next to the King’s Head in the Old Stable and former village forge watched his sales soar after the event. Ales drawing popular acclaim were the brewery’s Winter Solstice, (described as a spicy beer with a hint of ginger and cinnamon) and Hop Pocket, a lighter beer that enabled drinkers to sup a few pints and still find their way home.

The brewery is so-called because of the decree in the Houses of Parliament in 1648 carrying the signature of Oliver Cromwell to remove the King’s head!

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A great day was enjoyed by participants and spectators alike.

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