TRIBUTES have been paid to the founder of the famous Pewsey Wheelbarrow Race Tony Kimber, who has died at the age of 76.

Mr Kimber, of Milton Road, Pewsey, was in the building trade and was heavily involved in the village’s annual carnival.

He launched the first Wheelbarrow Race, known then as the Wheelbeero Race, in 1980 after watching a couple of builders messing about, one pushing the other in a wheelbarrow.

The race is now one of the most popular events during the two-week carnival and involves teams in fancy dress pushing barrows around the village stopping at pubs to down a glass of beer.

Carnival committee member Liz Boden said: “Tony was a much-loved Pewsey character who played a huge part in Pewsey Carnival for many years. Indeed, one of the biggest, and most popular, carnival events – the Wheelbarrow Race – was Tony’s brainchild.

“Since then it has blossomed and grown – in recent years attracting almost 1,000 participants – whilst maintaining a wonderfully good-spirited atmosphere.

“We shall miss him tremendously, and will miss his presence, in his legendary top hat, at the start of this year’s race.”

Brother of Peter, Niel, Vince and Monica and father to Vanessa and the long-term partner of Rita Quarta, the grandfather-of-three passed away peacefully on June 23.

A thanksgiving service was held at St John the Baptist Church in Pewsey yesterday.