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Sheppey Rotary pig race to go 'global'

Oink! Oik! Rotarians on the Isle of Sheppey have come up with a 'crackling' idea to raise cash for charity.

After their annual August beer festival was axed because of the coronavirus pandemic they are going big on pigs - and hosting what they hope will be the world's biggest race for porkers.

Ray Seager, president of Minster-on-Sea Rotary Club, preparing for the 'world's biggest pig race' at Minster WMC, Sheppey (37771149)
Ray Seager, president of Minster-on-Sea Rotary Club, preparing for the 'world's biggest pig race' at Minster WMC, Sheppey (37771149)

Ray Seager, newly-appointed president of Minster-on-Sea Rotary Club, said: "We are going global. We already have participants joining us from Germany, Belgium, France, Netherlands, USA and Australia. Now we'd like as many Brits and organisations to get involved as well."

Ray is no stranger to staging smaller fund-raising races at Minster Working Men's Club where he is the steward. But now he is planning to harness the wonders of the internet to take them international.

He admitted: "I'd always had an idea of staging the biggest pig race in the world but for one reason or another it never came off, until now."

He will be going live from Minster WMC on Saturday, September 12, at 7pm with a card of eight races each featuring six speedy piglets.

He said: "The beer festival at the Aviator at Queenborough has become the main fundraiser for our Community Chest programme which gives away several thousands of pounds to good causes across the Island. With this year's festival cancelled we desperately needed another source of income and this certainly won't be boar-ing."

Ray Seager and chief pig wrangle Paul Fagg at the Minster-on-Sea Rotary Club pig race at Minster Working Men's Club (37769664)
Ray Seager and chief pig wrangle Paul Fagg at the Minster-on-Sea Rotary Club pig race at Minster Working Men's Club (37769664)

Ray, 66, will be the race commentator and his side-kick Paula Fagg will be the chief pig wrangler.

Ray said: "I couldn't do it without Paula. In all the years we have been doing pig racing I don't think she has missed a meeting. She seems to have an uncanny knack of understanding them."

Each battery-powered pig also has its own knitted jockey.

Ray said: "If I get a 100 people to sign up I will be happy. But if I get thousands, I will like a pig in, er, a blanket."

To take part, email Ray at minster.wmc@btconnect.com to register and receive betting details. Once the entrance fee has been paid you will be sent a password to watch the races live on Facebook.

Ray is also looking for race sponsors.

Sheppey is no stranger to hosting odd events. For years the Round Table held an annual donkey derby. And the World Walking the Plank Championships were held at Queenborough by the Sheppey Pirates.

Read more: Isle of Sheppey stories here


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