Cambridgeshire

Christmas pudding race held in Cambridge

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Media captionCity holds first Christmas pudding race

At least 60 people have taken part in a Christmas pudding race in Cambridge.

Ten teams of six carried a pudding on a baking tray around an obstacle course that included a "festive limbo" and an assault course.

Organisers believe it has raised £6,000 for Cancer Research UK, which has a research centre in the city.

The event, said to be the first of its kind in Cambridge, was at Parker's Piece.

Image copyright Robert Bucknell
Image caption A competitor holding onto her pudding through the "slalom" obstacle
Image copyright Marisa Crimlis-Brown
Image caption The pudding race was a new addition to the city's Mill Road Winter Fair

Alison Orr from Cancer Research UK said: "The race is organised by local fundraisers and all the money will go straight to local research."

The charity's Cambridge Institute is involved with "pioneering research", including liquid biopsies that can track a tumour's DNA and a "cytosponge", which when swallowed can detect the earliest signs of oesophageal cancer and "one of the hardest to detect early", she added.

The race is taking place on the same day as the city's annual Mill Road Winter Fair.

A mile-long (1.6km) length of the road, from Parker's Piece to Coleridge Road, has been closed to traffic and up to 10,000 people are expected to attend.

The Christmas pudding race is based on a similar one held annually in Covent Garden in London.

Christmas pudding

  • It dates back to about 1430 but unlike today's sweet pud it used to include meat or fish
  • The sugar in the dried fruits helped preserve the meat
  • There were two types - one encased in pastry, the other a sort of porridge
  • By the early 19th Century, the meat had vanished and the sweet dish was boiled and shaped like a canon ball
  • In 1845, Eliza Acton published a recipe she called Christmas Pudding, very similar to today's dessert
  • The tradition of putting coins in the pudding appears to date back to the medieval Twelfth Night celebrations

Source: History Today

Image copyright Rob Coombe
Image caption Lyme Regis in Dorset and Great Langdale in Cumbria also hold Christmas pudding races

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