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The World Coal Carrying Championship
From: 2014.04.25 To: 2014.04.25
Legend has it that the World Coal Carrying Championship started back in 1963. The story goes that local resident Reggie Sedgewick and a friend were enjoying some well-earned liquid refreshment. In walks Lewis Hartley who comments on buggered the men look. Reggie takes offense and challenges Lewis to a strength contest, specifically a coal carrying competition. Now all of this would've been dismissed as you usual drunken pub behavior and long forgotten had it not been for Mr. Fred Hirst, Secretary of the Gawthorpe Maypole Committee, who happened to overhear the conversation. Knowing a good event when he heard one, Mr. Hirst suggested making it a public competition. Thus was born The World Coal Carrying Contest which every Easter Monday lifts the village of Gawthorpe out of obscurity and into the headlines. Not event in the Olympic Games could stimulate more enthusiasm than this annual contest of stamina and muscle The main event, the men’s contest, starts at The Royal Oak, Owl Lane from where competitors, each carrying 1cwt. of coal, ( 50 kg. ) have to run about a mile quickly as possible before being allowed to drop the sacks of coal at the foot of the Maypole, which stands on the village green. The current and WORLD RECORD is 4mins. 6secs held by one DAVID JONES of Meltham. He has achieved this time twice, in 1991 and again in 1995, just to prove that the first time wasn’t a fluke. In fact of the top ten times he holds 6 of them. Companion events for women and children are also organized. The prizes are sponsored by a local brewery. Modest cash prizes for both men and women as well as commemorative trophies and tankards. The brewery has previously offered a barrel of beer, the Solid Fuel Advisory Service free vouchers for coal and even a free holiday has been offered. However none of these compare with the possibility of becoming THE World Coal Carrying Champion and having an entry in the Guinness Book of Records.