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Sean’s smart move for his pram win

RECORD-BREAKING stalwart Sean Wickenden celebrated his latest Pagham Pram Race by winning the prize named after a late friend.

 

Mr Wickenden completed his 46th entry by clinching the Dennis Doughty Memorial Shield with a giant Smarties tube on his adapted pram.

 

He entered with his grand-daughter, Paige Wickenden, 18, as his sixth partner in his unequalled participation in the Boxing Day fun.

 

Rose Green resident Mr Wickenden, 63, said: “I enjoy taking part in the race. It’s a tradition but I have to say I found it harder this year.

 

“Those few extra yards we have to take for the pit stop at the Beach Cafe, instead of the King’s Beach Hotel, made all the difference for me. But it’s good to have been awarded the memorial plate again. My name is on it a few times.

 

“I used to enter the race with Dennis, who died in a bike accident, and winning the memorial plate brings back some memories.

 

“I can remember some of the things we used to get up to – laughing and joking as we built our entries. We would start off building one thing and end up with something completely different.”

 

“It’s good to see the race keeps going. It’s a really brilliant event and people have made a lot of effort. Congratulations to all those who have won,” he said.

 

This year’s race attracted a lower than usual 42 entries but many were larger teams of up to ten members to take the participants to 160.

 

The race began in 1946 when two friends had a drunken bet in The Lamb about who could push a pram quicker around the village. They set up the route from Nyetimber Mill past The Bear, The Lamb and the former King’s Beach Hotel – with a pint of beer at each – before they finished back at The Lamb.

 

It has stayed unchanged except for the diversion outside the one-time hotel, recently changed to a convenience store, to the cafe opposite.

 

As usual, those taking part were watched by thousands of spectators and divided into serious and humorous entrants.

 

First to cross the finishing line for the first time were Ben Archer and Rikki Mace. It was their second entry together and ninth overall. Rikki had come second and third and Ben’s brother was a previous winner.

 

Ben, 27, of Aldwick, said: “I went flat out. It’s good to win but I’m absolutely exhausted. I’ve used up all my pigs in blankets from yesterday.”

 

North Bersted resident Rikki, 29, said: “Every Boxing Day, we see the same faces and everyone’s got a smile on their face. We’ll be back next year.”

 

They completed the race in about 15 minutes and a few paces ahead of cricketers, The Gashers, aka Kieron Lafferty, George Hibberd and Morgan Powell-Jones.

 

The first ladies home were the Festive entry led by regular entrant Lucy Archer. Second place went to Orange Is The New Black and, in third, were Trumpy Stuff, or sisters Elissa and Jo Batty.

 

Both living in London, they followed the footsteps of their parents who entered some 30 years ago.

 

Elissa, 20, depicted North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Jo, 25, was USA President Donald Trump.

 

Jo said: “This is the first year we have entered. It’s quite tough to push so much extra weight around but we will be back next year.

 

Elissa added: “The crowds were really good. A lot of people were laughing at us.”

 

The humorous entries were headed by the first-time winning trio of Pagham’s Old Biddies. Father and son Greg Hausmann, 53, and Benjamin Hausmann, 25 on Christmas Day, joined with friend Chris Fry, 26, to clean out the charity shops in Bognor Regis of pearls and twinsets to live up to their nickname of Pagham’s Old Biddies. Greg proudly boasted: “We’ve been holding up Pagham Road since time began.”

 

Benjamin said: “Young people nowadays really are so fast and reckless. Even in this race, they took no notice of the Slow Down sign on Pagham Road.”

 

Other fancy dress entries included Pagham’s Potholes Patrol with Detour hi-vis outfits, threatened green field and beach front floats, led by Pagham Parish Council chairman Cllr Ray Radmall, an anti-house building mini-digger, the human emojis of Rose Green Junior School, Father Christmas and his reindeer and the congregation’s mobile St Thomas a’Becket Church.

 

Pram race committee chairman Mick Warren said: “This has been another excellent day with a good turnout. Members of the community continue to support us and they have again put in a lot of effort, with the size of the teams growing.

 

“We allocated £12,000 to local organisations last year and we are hoping to exceed that this year, thanks to the pram race and our four other fundraising events each year. But we couldn’t do any of it without our volunteers. We had probably our best turnout this year of more than 40.”

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