Horsing around in Greenwich this Christmas

By Beth Allcock on December 21, 2012 2:55 PM |

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For most of us this Christmas, the annual horse racing fixtures will be watched from the comfort of our armchairs, perhaps with a glass of festive punch.

But for Greenwich born-and-bred Mark Biddiss, the focus will be on a very different group of runners and riders.

For most of us this Christmas, the annual horse racing fixtures will be watched from the comfort of our armchairs, perhaps with a glass of festive punch.

But for Greenwich born-and-bred Mark Biddiss, the focus will be on a very different group of runners and riders.

"I like to do things that I don't think have been done," he said, explaining he has put in 18-hour days to ensure the success of the town's third festive Greenwich Charity Pantomime Horse Race, set to take place on December 23.

The event will see a team of 20 "horses" take on a course alongside a grocery-basket full of different fruits and vegetables, in aid of the Demelza Children's Hospice. The race, which begins at Devonport House with a launch by BBC presenter Arthur Smith, winds its way around 10 Greenwich pubs as competitors aim to snatch the crown from last year's victorious zebra.

And Mark will not be missing out on the action either, with a Monty Python-inspired King Arthur outfit.

This year, 39-year-old's quirky race will be boosted by four other events, including an auction and music gig, offering the opportunity to edge closer and closer to his £10,000 fundraising target.

He said: "The whole idea was to bring the community together. In 2009, Greenwich was going through worries of major companies coming into the town and the race was good fun - people really enjoyed it and that spurred me on. It's a ridiculous set-up.

"But it's lovely to see the kids and horses come into the paddock and the children crouching to stroke the horses - it's very kid-centric at the start. It changes into adult behaviour in terms of what they are doing, running from pub to pub, but people follow the race and it's fun, it's a laugh."

To cheer on the competitors, arrive at the starting line for 1pm.

Go to pantohorserace.org for more information or justgiving.com/pantomime-horse-race to donate.

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