Don’t forget the pancakes!

Flippin' eck: Olney's great pancake tradition
Flippin' eck: Olney's great pancake tradition

Quite how the world famous pancake race at Olney originated can’t be verified - was it the harassed housewife, who dashed to the church with pancake and frying pan still in hand when she heard the shriving bell?

Or were the pancakes a bribe to the Ringer that he might ring the bell sooner and bring forward the day’s holiday?

Whichever it was, we do know that the flipping great event was first run back in 1445, on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent.

There have been lapses over the years, but the tradition has never been left cold for long.

Although the frying pans were pushed aside during the Second World War, the custom was revived in 1948 by the Vicar of Olney, the Reverend Canon Ronald Collins.

He found some old photographs of races run dating back to the 1920s and 1930s and excitedly brought back the custom.

This year’s event - taking place on March 4th - will be the 65th year the race has been run in the post war era, and eyes from all over the world will once again look to Olney.

The race will begin at 11.55am, and while the ladies of the town don their pinnies, running shoes and reach for their frying pans, the Market Square will serve up perfect pancakes for those descending on the town for the historic race.