Prams at the ready as villagers race for the East Hoathly Carnival and BonfireSociety

Start of The Boxing Day East Hoathly Pram Race by Ron Hill
Start of The Boxing Day East Hoathly Pram Race by Ron Hill

Pram pushers, Mr Blobby, the village quizzers and the Tetley Tea team were among energetic runners in East Hoathly’s annual Boxing Day Pram Race.

This was not a marathon - or even a half marathon. In fact all the runners had to do was cover the few hundred yards between the Kings Head and the Foresters’ Arms pubs.

The East Hoathly pram race is now a regular Christmas fixture and people taking part say it’s great to get out of the house.

East Hoathly and Halland Carnival Society chairman David Cottingham said: “The weather was OK this year which was great so loads of people came out to watch. The money we raise goes to support the Carnival and Bonfire Society which in turn raises funds for vital village projects. It was a terrific day.”

The Pram Race is the less demanding winter equivalent of the August Bank Holiday Kings Head Canter – a five kilometre race which begins in Chiddingly and heads back to East Hoathly – with a free pint or soft drink for finishers at The King’s Head sponsored by both the pub and the 1648 Brewery.

Up to 275 people can enter for a low registration fee and once again the money goes to support the village’s carnival - a key component in the round of Sussex bonfires.

The East Hoathly and Halland Carnival grew out of village celebrations of Armistice Day in 1918 and now functions similar to the bonfire societies of other Sussex towns and villages but rather than commemorating Guy Fawkes and deaths of the Protestant martyrs, the society honours the fallen of the two world wars.

The carnival is held on the eve of Remembrance Sunday with a spectacular torchlight parade, inaugurated by the Last Post and one minute’s silence, followed by a bonfire and a spectacular firework display.