Flipping good fun, despite the weather

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Shrove Tuesday has become famous for the pancake races it has spawned across the country. The annual inter-Livery event may not be the most athletically-pleasing of them all, but it can lay claim to being run in the most aesthetically-pleasing surroundings.

Hosted in the Guildhall Yard by the Worshipful Company of Poulters, the race involves the Livery Companies associated in some way with pancakes or the pancake race and that, of course includes the Worshipful Company of Fruiterers. It’s fair to say that the Fruiterers record in the
race is less than triumphant, but as ever, our hardy team of four braved the wet and blustery conditions to give it their best shot

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The victors received, quite fittingly, frying pans as well as a trophy, but the real cause of the day was to raise funds for the Lord Mayor’s Appeal, which supports a range of charities under the banner ‘A Better City for All’.

Teams wearing either fancy dress or full Livery regalia – at times as you can see from the photos, they wore a combination of both – were supposed to race while tossing their pancakes in designated ‘tossing zones’. Unfortunately, due to the inclement weather and a treacherously slippery surface, competitors in the 14th annual race were reduced to simply tossing their pancakes in a stationary position for 60 seconds. The winner of each heat became the competitor with the greatest number of completed tosses.

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The contest was shortened again, as the pancakes were seeing as much action on the floor as in the pan or the air, and eventually the tossing was reduced to 30 seconds for each competitor. The flip-off saw the Worshipful Company of Actuaries emerge the overall winner and claim the ceremonial frying pan.

More than 40 organisations were represented, including 38 Livery Companies, the City Livery Club, the Guild of Young Freemen and a team from 601 (County of London) Squadron of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force celebrating the 100th anniversary of the RAF in 2018.

In a true joint effort, the Fruiterers provided the lemons for the event, the Gunmakers provided and operated the starting cannon, the Clockmakers kept the time, the Glovers providing (much needed) gloves and the Poulters provided perhaps the most indispensable ingredient of the day – the eggs.