Chippenham town centre was buzzing for pancake races today, with a record number of 86 competitors.

A large crowd lining the High Street saw the coveted new business cup go to 24-7 Staffing, to the delight of director Melody Thompson who jumped up and down with glee.

Recruitment consultant Josh Thompson, 18, who won the final for his employer, said: “I keep cramping up now. It was really good fun. I used to do athletics at Sheldon but I’ve certainly never raced with a frying pan before!”

His colleague David Turner also took third place, while second went to Matt Sartain of John Williams Heating Services, sponsors of the cup.

The new race for businesses awoke a fierce competitive spirit in the town and Emma King, tourism manager for Chippenham Town Council, said the 44 adults and 42 children taking part was a record.

“I think it was the best one ever,” she said.

Among the onlookers was Jean Nokes, 73, of Monkton Park, who said: “There seems to be more atmosphere this year, more competitiveness.”

Elizabeth Hunter, 69, of Derby Close, said: “It has definitely brought the town to life. It’s fantastic to have all this; otherwise Chippenham would be dead. We’ll come again.”

In one incredibly close heat, Emery Gate’s Richard Hewer was in the lead until the last second when his pancake fell to the ground and Sainsbury’s Rochelle Oliver beat him to the ribbon by a millisecond.

On receiving her engraved frying pan the 19-year-old, who said she had never flipped a pancake before, said: “I’m feeling fab, pumped. I’ve found a new love for pancakes.”

Smartly dressed Scott Lippiatt, seven, finished first in the Grittleton House School race and managed to get in four flips along the way.

“I practised on Monday and at Beavers,” he said. “I never drop it.”

Tiny toddlers dressed as chefs competed for Chippenham Childminders, won by two-year-old Jack Sibley, while the Rotary Club race was won by the town’s mayor Sylvia Gibson.

Doll Brewer, 82, of Monkton Park, said: “The little ones are lovely, the way they’re all dressed up. It’s very exciting, it cheers everybody up.”

Also competing were Happy Days Nursery, Rise Trust, DEVELOP Enhancing Community Support, Acorn Recruitment, Card Bar, Forrester, Sylvester and Mackett solicitors and belly dancers Sahara Sisters.