The Soapbox Derby is a charity event as part of #AmazingAccrington to raise money for Maundy Relief, where people in the local community including businesses and charities build a cart to race on a 170-metre racetrack through the middle of Accrington’s town centre. Each cart goes on the track one by one and the fastest time wins.
Contestants were challenged to create a non-motorised cart which only uses gravity for fuel and speed. The carts had to be able to steer and have brakes, as well as the contestants needing to wear helmets for safety. Contestants also faced people from the crowd spraying water at them along the track.
A celebration of a local community
Several local organisations submitted carts such as; Accrington Stanley Women FC, BBC Radio Lancashire, Maundy Relief Accrington, Boohoo, Accrington & Rossendale college, Emerson and Renwick, Property Shop Sales & Lettings Agency, E+R group, North Lancs Training Group and Veterans in Communities. Some of these groups are also sponsors of the event.
“Fantastic Soapbox racing, giving our pupils a chance to get involved in our community, just a brilliant event”.Accrington & Rossendale College, Charlotte Scheffmann
Several stalls were dotted around including Royal British Legion, Daily Grind Coffee, The Finest Fudge Co, Peregrine Brewery, Working for Wildlife, WWF, Proctor’s cheeses and many more. This event really encouraged visitors to explore local businesses and there were several adverts for local businesses around the town.
“Amazing Accrington have done it again. I’ve never seen the town so packed there must be more than 15,000 in the town. What a fantastic day.”Leader of Hyndburn Council, Miles Parkinson
A local cadets group were present as well and took part in setting up and helping out around the venue.
In addition to the derby and stalls, they also had more to do in the market hall with the CODE Show which is a local coding roadshow celebrating how we embraced the computer in the 80s and allowed people to play on vintage computers, retro gadgets and arcade games. There were also local businesses helping out in the market hall as well to encourage young people to get involved with digital jobs.
“This event fits with our ethos of engaging young people, who might want a career in tech. We are working with Accrington & Rossendale College to provide training, so it’s ideal that we will be there on the day to help!”CEO of Sundown Solutions, Heath Groves
The winner for the best cart design, according to the Mayor of Hyndburn Abdul Khan, was Maundy Relief’s Nuns on the Run. The winner of the event was Emerson and Renwick’s Chicken Run cart. Overall, my favourite cart was the Dick Dastardly inspired cart, and my favourite part was seeing the carts crash into the safety haybales and all the fun outfits worn by the contestants!
It was a fantastic event that brought a community together as well as thousands of visitors, and I highly recommend checking it out for next year. I’ve never seen such a large local event before!
Jamie Robinson is a professional photographer for Robinson Photography based in Lancashire. You can visit his website.
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