Is it the end for Pewsey's famous Wheelbeero race?
8:00am Saturday 15th February 2014 in By Anna Mauremootoo, Senior reporter for Marlborough and Pewsey
Pewsey's famous Wheelbeero Race could be axed after 35 years unless someone comes forward to organise it.
A reorganisation of the carnival structure, combined with a number of volunteers stepping down, including race organiser Keith Lang, means there is nobody to arrange it this year.
Carnival chairman Bernie Bradshaw said: “Some of the volunteers that have stepped down are in their sixties and seventies and have been helping with the carnival for years; some of them have been on the committee for 50 years so it’s understandable that they want to take a step back.
“People think that everything gets organised in September but we need to liaise with Wiltshire Council and the police so the preparation really needs to start now so we are looking for someone as soon as possible.”
The organiser will be responsible for signing people up, arranging drink stops, timings and handing out medals.
The committee is also looking for an operations director who will oversee organising routes for the wheelbeero race, three- legged race and procession.
Mr Bradshaw said: “We’ve been looking to get positions filled since October and there are only three directors positions out of 11 left to fill.
“We used to have a small number of people doing a lot so what we’ve tried to do is get more people and spread the work out which means that if there is someone who wants to give up ten hours of the year, for example, then we can accommodate for that.”
The race was the idea of Tony Kimber and is one of the biggest events in the Pewsey Carnival calendar which runs for two weeks in September.
Thousands of people line the streets to watch up to 900 people run around Pewsey with decorated wheelbarrows stopping at pubs along the way. One entrant even travels over with his family from Seattle.
Veteran competitor Mark Anderson, chairman of Pewsey Vale Running Club, has won the race 26 times and come second three times.
He said: “Carnival needs the race and it would be a great shame if the event folded.
"It’s one of, if not the, highlight of carnival fortnight. It brings so much colour and excitement.
“Pewsey and District has a wonderful community spirit and I’m sure there’s somebody out there who’ll take on the role of race organiser.”