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Maidstone: New Year's Day pram race in Sutton Valence attracts thousands of spectators

By Claire McWethy

Where else would you see Princess Leia in a Millennium Falcon racing against Donald Trump and a portable toilet on wheels?

Of course, it was the return of the annual New Year’s Day pram race through Sutton Valence.

More than 5,000 spectators lined the streets to watch as nine wacky contraptions battled in out around two laps of the village, including “pit stops” at the pubs along the way.

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Team Star Wars won the contest
Team Star Wars won the contest

Among the competitors were teams dressed as Adam and Eve, knights of the round table, hippies, farmers and even the Clangers.

The Millennium Falcon travelled at lightspeed to ensure a win for the Star Wars team, who also scooped the award for best turned out.

A separate, shorter race for the over 40s, was won by Hayley’s Heroes, representing the charity that will benefit from this year’s contest.

Set up by Maidstone cancer patient Hayley Martin, the organisation aims to provide support and memorable occasions for young people battling the disease.

It is hoped that the event, now in its 37th year, will have raised around £3,000 for the cause.

The Clangers compete in the New Year's Day Pram Race
The Clangers compete in the New Year's Day Pram Race

Organiser Lyndon Davies said: “It is a highlight for many people, some of who say they look forward to it more than New Year’s Eve itself.

“The whole community comes out together, seeing people they’ve known for years but also meeting new faces. It brings together everyone from octogenarians to babies.

“Before you know it all the streets are full.”

It is organised by The Queen’s Head Oddfellows Fund, founded with the aim of raising funds to help worthy causes in The Three Suttons.

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