Shrove Tuesday in Guildhall Yard

Tuesday 17 February saw an unusual twist on traditional Shrove Tuesday events when Masters and Liverymen from a number of Worshipful Companies got together in Guildhall Yard to hold the 11th Inter-Livery Pancake Race.

Against the backdrop of the magnificent Guildhall, Liverymen of every rank, shape and size raced, in full regalia, including chef’s hat, gloves, frying pan and pancake, around traffic cones to be the first to put their pan back on the starting line table. There was even a ‘novelty race, in which Liverymen competed wearing a variety of outfits that were supposed to evoke the Lord Mayor’s chosen charities. Our own entrant in this, Liveryman Simone Davies, represented the Royal Academy of Arts in a costume made by Liveryman Debra Marmor.

Most were egged on by well-wishers from their Company, some cracked jokes and others exhibited their tossing prowess to the watching crowd. Indeed, one participant in the ladies’ race was so busy flipping her pancake high in the air that she prompted a grim “peaking too early” warning from one bystander and, indeed, her hat blew off during the race, so she was demoted to last place.

We even had a last minute race added to the card when Sheriff Fiona Adler, previous Lord Mayors Sir David Wootton and Nick Anstee, along with the Chief Commoner, sprinted up and down the course. Fiona proved herself top chick after penalties were given to the gentlemen for reasons best known to the adjudicator.

Organised by the Worshipful Company of Poulters, the morning, like the runners, seemed to pass in a flash and it was soon time to partake of lunch in Guildhall Crypt provided by the Cook and the Butler, who had been doing sterling work all morning supplying watchers with delicious, freshly-made pancakes from their coffee stall.

Congratulations to all who took part, particularly our own team – Middle Warden Sue Garland Worthington, Liverymen Adèle Thorpe, Simone Davies and Keith Rowland. Everyone, including the watching crowd, had fun and the Lord Mayor made plenty of money for his fund, so an ‘eggsellent’ result all round.

Photographs kindly provided by Peter Holland and Beadle, James Hasler.

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