A mystery  infection, dubbed pancakeitis, ruled out two previous winners of Ripon’s traditional pancake day races from taking  part in this year’s event.

Canon Paul Greenwell, Precentor at Ripon Cathedral, had to content himself with nothing more strenuous than  giving a radio interview on the morning of the event while the Mayor of Ripon, Councillor Adrian Morgan, had to be a spectator rather than a participant this year.  Both blamed  chest infections; in Canon Greenwell’s case it was said to be bronchitis, but its timing led to the coining of a new condition known as pancakeitis.

The races, from Ripon Cathedral up the cobbled street of Kirkgate, are a medieval Shrove Tuesday tradition in the city. They are started by the “pancake bell” tolling at 11 o’clock , once a signal for townspeople to come to confession in the cathedral before the start of Lent the following day.

This year was no exception with teams from local businesses and schools running  along Kirkgate and flipping  their pancakes to the cheers of spectators. They were rewarded by pancakes cooked by soldiers from 21 Regiment of the Royal Engineers. Donations went to the Army Benevolent Fund.