Hot Dogs, Panto Dames and Potatoes!

Sixteen teams battled it out in Ely at the weekend for the annual potato race over the quarter-a-mile course, all carrying 20kg bag of spuds, all of which had been grown by different farmers in the Fens surrounding the city.

A sprinkling of rain had caused a few extra nerves in the morning but it didn’t put off a healthy crowd who gathered up and down the high street.

The two-man team from the Atrium Gym(A), were crowned worthy champions, winning their heat before, in the final, powering away from runners-up Infinity Fitness in the dash to the line. Littleport Basketball Club came third. The Atrium were racing with potatoes from farmers AL Lee and Sons.

Also hotly-contested was the PJ Lee & Sons fillies 7.5kg handicap stakes. R&C Parson provided the potatoes, with the winning team coming from Kings School Ely.

A close fought children’s race between St Mary’s School and Kings Primary School, saw the Kings team lift the Oliver’s Potato trophy.

Austen Dack, of organisers Isle of Ely Produce, said: “It was a fantastic set of races. We had lots of great competitors this year including sports clubs & gyms all keen to grab the prize. We also had a racing hot dog, a pantomime dame plus two local fire fighters too.”

Donations on the day helped to raise more than £2,000 for local schools and charities from the event.

The event is put on by Isle of Ely Produce to celebrate the region’s potato growers and the local harvest festival held in Ely Cathedral.

Owned and managed by the Boutwood family, Isle of Ely Produce was established in 1994.

Director Oliver Boutwood said: “It was lovely to see so many people coming out to support the teams today. Isle of Ely Produce are happy to play such an important part in the community and will continue to invest in these types of events in the future.

“The event underlines our pledge to support the journey of the potato from the field to the frier.”

Some of the money raised will go to the Ely Hereward Rotarians, who did a marvelous job stewarding the event along the High Street.

The winning duo from this year’s two adult races received £100 cash prize and a trophy.

All competitors kept their potatoes as part of their £10 entry fee.

Press release from Isle of Ely Produce

Photography by Julie Cave

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