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Sutton Valence pram race will go ahead in 2018

By Natalie Tipping

Organisers of a New Year's Day event which was struck by tragedy last year have announced the event will return in 2018.

The Sutton Valence pram race has always been a very popular event, but was the setting for disaster last year when one competitor sadly died after an accident during the race.

John Starns, a spokesman for the Queens Head Oddfellows Fund, which organises the event, confirmed this morning that the event would go ahead on New Year's Day.

Sutton Valence Pram Race. Picture: Andy Jones
Sutton Valence Pram Race. Picture: Andy Jones

This will be the 38th year that the event has been held, with two races run each year; a veterans' race, for competitors over 45-years-old, and the main race.

The charity event, which has raised thousands for various organisations over the years, sees competitors dressed in a range of costume, with decorated carts to fit their theme.

Each team of three stops at the village's pubs to drink beakers of beer and switch which of them will ride in the cart for the next stage.

Francis 'Titch' O'Sullivan was riding around Sutton Valence in a contraption styled to look like a Spitfire when it tipped over in front of horrified crowds.

Despite being airlifted to hospital, the 52-year-old Langley man could not be saved.

Francis O'Sullivan died after an incident at a New Year's Day pram race. Picture: Andy Jones
Francis O'Sullivan died after an incident at a New Year's Day pram race. Picture: Andy Jones

An inquest into Mr O'Sullivan's death heard that he had not been wearing a helmet when his pram hit the kerb, and he had died from a traumatic brain injury.

Police ruled there was no criminal liability.

The Queens Head Oddfellows Fund has announced that new safety rules will be put in place for this year's race in the wake of last year's tragedy.

These new rules include the need for helmets to be worn, and for all prams to be on four wheels.

There is also a regulation forbidding prams from having anything that will enable the two pushers to ride on the pram, and that all prams will be inspected by officials prior to the race to check this rule has been adhered to.

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