Throwback Thursday: Beccles Straw Race 2004 - do you remember it?

PUBLISHED: 11:11 24 May 2018

Roy Strowger's article covering Beccles Straw Race 2004. photo: Archant.

Roy Strowger's article covering Beccles Straw Race 2004. photo: Archant.


In our new Throwback Thursday feature, Enjoy Beccles More takes a look back at some of the major Beccles stories and events from times gone-by.

Kicking things off this week is Roy Strowger’s report of Beccles Straw Race in 2004.

Sadly the straw race is no longer held but we are keen to hear your memories - did you take part in the event?

What did you dress up as? What do you remember from the day?

Be sure to post any and all memories on the Enjoy Beccles Facebook page.

But for now relive the fun and read the original report, which appeared in the Bcecles and Bungay Journal on June 4, 2004.

Last straw? No, this is the FAST straw! by Roy Strowger

It was a day for Beccles to let down its hair, pick up a bale of straw and down a few pints of ale.

Beccles Straw Race is one of the town’s most bizarre and colourful events and grows in popularity every year.

It was staged for the fifth time on Monday, with dozens of competitors taking up the bank holiday challenge.

The aim is to devise a fun way of transporting a bale of straw around six of the town’s pubs and clubs, stopping for a drink at each, in the quickest time.

A “jet-propelled” shopping trolley, an army tank and a Batmobile were among the innovative modes of transport.

Without an aerobics leader to guide them, competitors limbered up instead with a rugby style warm-up outside the King’s Head led by hotel manager Stuart James.

Money raised goes to the Beccles and District Volunteer Centre, which organises the event.

Nearly £500 was given through the collection buckets and boxes along the way, a total that could be trebled once all the sponsorship money has come in.

Co-ordinator Jill Sillett said afterwards that she thought it was the best race they had staged so far.

“More people took part than ever, and they really used their imaginations for carrying the straw – it was very colourful. With increasing numbers taking part each time we may have to make it organised next year,” she added.

Bear and Bells landlord Cliff Cox was first over the finishing line on his bike but immediately disqualified himself for having no straw bale!

Ultimate winners of the event were Moulin rouge duo Ben James and Dan Crisp.

“We didn’t do any training, but we were determined to beat the people who were really trying to win,” said Dan.

Mrs Sillett praised the support of Beccles Army Cadets and the other marshals.

“They were brilliant and we couldn’t do it without them,” she said.

She also thanked the licensees for their support.

The race called in at the White Horse, King’s Head, the Snooker Club, Caxton Arms, Bear and Bells and the Loaves and Fishes.

It was the first time the Loaves and Fishes had been used as the finishing post , and landlord John Houghton said he was delighted to be involved, both in supporting the event and the work of the volunteer centre.

A barbecue, disco, entertainment and tug o’ war rounded of the day in which winners were presented with their prizes by mayor, Jack Walmsley.

Among the awards, Beccles Army Cadets won best mode of transport and the Last Straw prize; Edward Stillet and Daniel Merrells took the fancy dress award as Batman and Robin; and the children’s award went to Georgia Fulcher, Sophie Blades and Megan Sillett.

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