- mid C20th (Creation)
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Shirt Race starter pistol confiscated; Witney Gazette article by police By Tom Jennings. A HISTORIC race in Bampton will go off with less of a bang this year after police confiscated the starting pistol. The Original Great Shirt Race is run between the village’s pubs and is believed to date back centuries. Traditionally, it was always started by firing a 12-bore shotgun into the air, but police stopped that practice in 2000. The shotgun was replaced with a starting pistol but now Government legislation means this year’s
event will start with an air horn. The pistol was confiscated from race starter John Buckingham over concerns it could be converted into a lethal weapon. Mr Buckingham, 49, of Weald Street, said: “It’s taking away from the race. It’s always been started with a gun. And I think it’s going to be bad because people aren’t going to be able to hear it.” Master of ceremonies Don Rouse said: “It’s health and safety gone mad. When I was told we couldn’t use the starting pistol any more I couldn’t believe it. We are village people, we aren’t criminals. “It wasn’t worth going down the route of getting another starting pistol. The law is forever changing. “These events are getting harder and harder to organise, with health and safety.” Police spokesman Adam Fisher said the pistol, an Olympic .380 BBM, was classified as a prohibited weapon because forensic tests showed it was “readily convertible” for criminal use.
He said the same model had been converted into a lethal weapon and used in a series of shootings, primarily in London. In March 2010, a 17-year-old from Islington was convicted of the attempted murders of two people using a converted Olympic pistol. Mr Fisher said: “It’s illegal for anyone to be in possession of one of these weapons without an appropriate licence. “Following the reclassification, a programme of activity aimed to remove the Olympic .380 from circulation in the UK and an amnesty began in April last year. “Mr Buckingham surrendered his gun in accordance with this amnesty and it was sent for destruction. “ The Original Great Shirt Race will take place this Saturday from 7pm. The race, which was revived in 1953, involves teams of two people racing around the village, one pushing the other in a ‘chariot’. The pair have to visit all the village’s pubs and drink half a pint of ale at each.
BA4A53 - George Shergold, father of Francis, Roy and Ruth with Ted Hicks in 1957 in fancy dress for the Shirt Race. Ted lived in Fox Close and George lived in New Road.
BAE577~1 - John Quick enjoying a pint. At the start of the 1950 John thought that television would spoil society because people would sit indoors watching TV instead of making fun together and so he started the Shirt Race, initially making a collection for the Radcliffe Infirmary and nurses went around with collecting tins. The SPAJERS - Society for The Preservation of Ancient Junketing was then formed and - was formed and they held all sorts of events for people and raised funds to give to Bampton's elderly. The SPAJERS still (2014) have several functions every year to raise funds and the pensioners are taken to the seaside the Wednesday after August Bank Holiday Monday and each has a Christmas card with £20 inside. In 2012, the year of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II all pensioners had an extra £10 to celebrate the occasion.
CHARIO~3 - A Chariot Race held on the Saturday before Whit Monday in 1970. This picture was taken by the Oxford Mail and shows an RAF team that entered.
CHARIO~1 - A Chariot Race held on the Saturday before Whit Monday in 1970. The picture was taken by the Standard Times and Echo. This is a team from The Talbot Inn.
CHBAE3~1 - A Chariot Race held on the Saturday before Whit Monday in 1970. The picture was taken by the Standard Times and Echo. This team is called The Gasworks Gang. On the extreme right is 'Rocky' aka Ernie 'Hunt' and next to him is Ken Quick son of John Quick the founder of the SPAJERS, (Society for the Preservation of Ancient Junketing) who raise money to treat the senior citizens of Bampton by holding fun events. When Ernie died, his birth certificate showed his real name was Ernest Bishop.
CHARIO~2 - A Chariot Race held on the Saturday before Whit Monday in 1970. The picture was taken by the Standard Times and Echo.
BA24D0~1 - Bampton Shirt Race run by the SPAJERS. Pam Bartlett being pushed by 'Rocky'. Rocky was known as Dicky to all his family but when Rocky died.
BA7F86~1 - Shirt race competitors having just past The Grange and coming up to the New Inn, now called the Morris Clown his birth certificate showed his real name was Ernest Bishop.
BA7F88~1 - Bampton Shirt Race - some of the competitors in the Market Square for the judging of their outfits.
BA7F82~1 - Shirt race organised by the SPAJERS. Founder of SPAJERS John Quick in the pram and his son Ken pushing. This was the last year in which John took part as a competitor.
BA7F84~1 - Bampton Shirt Race - Ken Quick on the right.
BA7F8E~1 - Bampton Shirt Race - John Quick is pushing the Gasworks Gang pram as the contestants pass the Jubilee Inn in the Market Square. Early 1960s
BA7F80~1 - Bampton Shirt Race - late 1950s the contestants are crossing Fisher's Bridge in Buckland Road on their way to the start of the race outside the Swan Inn.
BA8F8C~1 - Bampton Shirt Race in the 1960s. Ken Quick in the pram as they pass the Jubilee Inn in the Market Square.
BA8F86~1 - Bampton Shirt Race in the early 1960s. The contestants are going over Fisher's Bridge in Buckland road having just started the race from The Swan.
BA8F88~1 - Bampton Shirt Race; two contestants calling their pram Duffy's Dinner. Circa 1960.
BA1CC4~1 - Bampton Shirt Race circa 1979. Children watch the contestants outside the George and Dragon in Cheapside.
BA10D4~1 - Bampton Shirt Race - two contestants down their beer outside the Romany Inn circa 1980.
BA14D4~1 - Bampton Shirt Race - in Cheapside circa 1980. The Market Square showroom is in the background.
BA18D4~1 – Bampton Shirt Race - Anthony Collett on the left and partner Richard Buckingham receiving the winner's cup.
BA1CD4~1 - Bampton Shirt Race - Anthony Collett on the left and partner Richard Buckingham receiving the winner's cup.
BA10E4~1 - Bampton Shirt Race, Ben Tanner on the left with Tommy Tanner 1980s
BA18E4~1 - Bampton Shirt Race circa 1980. Contestants outside the Market Square Garage in Cheapside.
BA0E1E~1 - Bampton Shirt Race - the contestants are running past the George and Dragon in Cheapside circa 1960.
BA022E~1 - Bampton Shirt Race seen in the Market Square. These two have created a coffin for their conveyance. 1970s.
BA0A2E~1 - Bampton Shirt Race. Contestants running to the table of beer outside Thompson's the grocers (now the Romany Inn) in the early 1960s.
BA0E2E~1 - Bampton Shirt Race - contestants drink their beer outside the George and Dragon in Cheapside.
BA0E04~1 - Don Rouse and another couple watching the Shirt Race in the 1970s.
BA0214~1 - Bampton Shirt Race - contestants outside the Talbot Inn circa 1980.
BA0614~1 - Bampton Shirt Race - Ernie Hunt doing the cycling in the shirt race with Wyn Woodley in the box as they pass the Horse Shoe inn. circa 1985.
Cyril Smith & Robert - Cyril Smith in the pram and Robert Radband pushing in a Shirt Race held on the Saturday before May Bank Holiday Monday (the bank holiday at the end of the month).
BA0E14~1 - Bampton Shirt Race. A contestant taking his beer outside the Horse Shoe circa 1980.
BA0224~1 - Bampton Shirt Race contestants taking their beer outside the Romany.
BA0E04~1 - Don Rouse and another couple watching a shirt race in the 1960s. The couple are waiting to give out the prizes to the winners.
BA0E24~1 - Some of the contestants lined up outside Folly View. The entrants are judged on their outfits before the start of the race. circa 1960s.
BA0234~1 - Contestants have just downed their beer outside the George and Dragon in Cheapside. Several people are running along with them to encourage them and generally enjoying the whole event. circa 1970s.
BA0212~1 - Tommy Tanner pushing, and Richard Snook in the centre 1980s.
BA0612~1 - The various cups awarded at the Bampton Shirt Race. There is a run for the juniors, young teens and adults and a cup for the best outfit in each class.
BA0E12~1 - The Children running past Folly View on the Market Square. Mrs Rosie Brooks is in the wheelchair watching. Before she retired she was a midwife and she laid out the dead.
BA0222~1 - Bampton Shirt Race - the contestants are outside the Morris Clown.
BA0622~1 - John Quick, the founder of the SPAJERS, which stands for The Society for the Preservation of Ancient Junketing. John started the Shirt Race in the year of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II 1953 and the collection was for the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford. It proved such a success that the decision was made to run the shirt race annually, the Saturday before Whit Monday with the proceeds of the collection going to benefit the senior citizens of Bampton. And so the SPAJERS, the Society for The Preservation of Ancient Junketing, was born. The SPAJERS now run several annual events - Donkey Derby, Bonfire night fireworks, Josie's Grand Draw, a village-wide table-top sale and other events and all senior citizens receive a Christmas card with a £20 note inside and are taken out for the day the Wednesday after the August Bank Holiday. In the past, balls have been held at Weald Manor by the kind invitation of Colonel Colvile and later by his son Major Colvile and barn dances in the WI Hall, now called the Village Hall, all to raise money while giving all Bampton citizens the chance to have fun and enable the SPAJERS to give something to the senior citizens of Bampton.
BA0A22~1 - Mr Ernest Sheppard about to fire his 12 bore to start the Bampton Shirt race. In later years, we were forbidden to fire a 12 bore for this purpose and so used an athletics starting pistol but even that was banned eventually so an air horn is now used.
BA0232~1 - Contestants gathered at the start point outside The Swan Inn in Buckland Road in the early 1960s.
BA0210~1 - Contestants gathered at the start point outside The Swan Inn in Buckland Road in the early 1960s.
BA0610~1 - In its early days, all the entrants wore night shirts. Here we see John Quick in the pushchair with his son Ken pushing. This was the last year John took part himself. John started the Shirt Race in the year of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II 1953 and the collection was for the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford. It proved such a success that the decision was made to run the shirt race annually, the Saturday before Whit Monday with the proceeds of the collection going to benefit the senior citizens of Bampton. And so the SPAJERS, the Society for The Preservation of Ancient Junketing, was born. The SPAJERS now run several annual events - Donkey Derby, Bonfire night fireworks, Josie's Grand Draw, a village-wide table-top sale and other events and all senior citizens receive a Christmas card with a £20 note inside and are taken out for the day the Wednesday after the August Bank Holiday. In the past, balls have been held at Weald Manor by the kind invitation of Colonel Colvile and later by his son Major Colvile and barn dances in the WI Hall, now called the Village Hall, all to raise money while giving all Bampton citizens the chance to have fun and enable the SPAJERS to give something to the senior citizens of Bampton.
BA0A10~1 - George Shergold (father of Francis and Roy Shergold) with Ted Hicks in 1957, probably the oldest couple by combined ages who took part in 1957.
BA0220~1 - Ernie 'Rocky' Hunt peddling and Win Woodley in the front 1977. Rocky was known as Dicky to his family. When Rocky died, his birth certificate showed his real name was Ernest Bishop.
BA0620~1 - a competitor downing his share of beer after running one of the legs of the race. c1980s
BA0A20~1 – Ernie Hunt cycling circa late 1980s.
BA0E20~1 - L-R Richard Snook, Mike Smith, George Brooks & Harry Hampton awarding the cups.
BA0230~1 – A bit of a spill which is all part of the fun. BA0616~1 – The children’s race.
CAHRIO~2 - A crowd gathered in the Market Square for the Bampton Chariot race, devised by John Quick. The chariot racing was tried for a couple of years and then it went back to the original Shirt race using a pram or similar conveyance.
a5. - A team of children taking part in the Shirt Race in 2003. a6. Children ready to take part in the Shirt Race. 2003.
a7 - Children ready to take part in the Shirt Race 2003. This was the time of the Iraq war. Josephine Knight (nee Keyte) with blond hair standing behind the lady in the mobility scooter.
a8. – Children ready to take part in the 2003 race. a9 – Adults ready for the 2003 race.
a10. – Adults prepare to race; this was the time of the Iraq war.
a11 – Alec Wixey in a mock-up car ready to take part in the 2003 Shirt Race.
B0084 - by the George and Dragon, date unknown. Francis Shergold on the left, Edie Foreshew in the light coloured coat behind the pram on the left, and her sister Emmie Papworth standing next to Jack Lawrence behind the tricycle. Circa early 1960s.
B0168 - The start of the first shirt race from the Swan Inn in Buckland Road. a878 - Ann and Francis Shergold on the occasion of the Shirt Race, May 1999.
Img747 - Shirt Race in the 1960s from upstairs of Kings of Bampton, now Strawberry Cottage. Fleur de Lys hairdresser, New Inn and The Household Stores.
Img748 - 1960s seen from upstairs of Kings of Bampton, now Strawberry Cottage looking towards the Market Square.
Img756a - 1960s
Img757a - SPAJER shirt race, some time in the 1960s. John Quick riding, son Ken pushing at the front of this group of races.
Img759 - SPAJER shirt race outside The New Inn and Fleur de Lys in the 1960s
Img760 - seen from upstairs of Kings of Bampton looking up towards the Market Square.
Img762 - 1960s outside Kings of Bampton. Entrants using a coffin on a pram base with one partner covered in bandages.
Img765 - SPAJER shirt race outside Paul Bovington's fish shop in the High Street
Img160John Quick on the left. Shirt race. John was one of the founder members of the SPAJERS along with Paul Bovington which organises the Shirt Race. It is run around the streets of Bampton on the Saturday prior to the spring Bank Holiday Monday. The collection is for the SPAJERS who use the money to make life better for the pensioners of Bampton.
Img160a - Arthur Hayes pushed by Ernie 'Rocky' Hunt. Arthur worked on Weald Farm and later on Glebe Farm, both for George Collins.
Img160b - Arthur Hayes, partnered by Ernie 'Rocky' Hunt.
Img160c - Shirt race, passing The Grange. Robert Radband pushing younger brother Brian and they are in the lead. Notice the sign to Bampton Baptist Church, a building which is now a private dwelling. The church was up the pathway by the side of Grange Cottage.
Img174 - Paul McGrath in black bowler, Jim Townsend on right.
Img047 - Newspaper photo taken from the 'Down Memory Lane' section in the Witney Gazette. This is the start of the shirt race by Fisher's Bridge in 1960.
1a. Bampton has - May 7th 1959 newspaper cutting from The Wiltshire Gazette & Herald talking about Bampton's shirt race visiting all 11 pubs.
Img484 - Part of the Shirt Race, in the Market Square, early 1980s
Img167a - Newspaper cutting from July 8th 1960 talking about various aspects of Bampton life including the ghost at the Talbot Inn, Bampton, the decline in sheep farming, the gas works and Mr Sheppard who was a stoker for 40 years, Mr Chandler the 83 year old saddle maker who used to look after 900 horses, the RC church upstairs over the Eagle Inn, the Spajers, the shirt race, Mr P O Money the shoemaker.
Img007 - The Shirt Race now has team entries and this Banquet Table and diners was a wonderful addition in 2002.
Img049 - 2002 Shirt Race, the youngsters running past the Talbot. Img050 - 2002 Shirt Race, two youngsters dressed as Bill and Ben.
Img051 - 2002 Shirt Race, two young girls taking part, running pasts Mark's Kitchen and the Talbot
Img052 - 2002 Shirt Race, two young boys using a wheelbarrow as they conveyance, running past the Talbot.
Img055 - 2002 Shirt Race, young men in pairs racing past the Town Hall, almost at the end of the race.
Img057 - 2002 Shirt Race, young men in pairs racing past the Town Hall, almost at the end of the race.
Img061 - 2002 Shirt Race, the team with the banqueting table near the end of the race as they pass the Town Hall.
Img062 - 2002 Shirt Race, the team with the banqueting table near the end of the race as they pass the Town Hall
Img063 - 2002 Shirt Race, the team with the banqueting table near the end of the race as they enter the Market Square. Note the musicians in the mobile stage outside the Village Hall.
Img064 - 2002 Shirt Race, several young ladies using wheelchairs as their conveyance, passing the Town Hall ready to enter the Square and pass the finishing line.
Img046 - 2002 Shirt Race. The 50th year of the great Shirt Race. A letter from Don Rouse, Chairman, in the program.
Img053 - 2002 Shirt Race. The 50th year of the great Shirt Race. A list of the full committee of the SPAJERS in 2002.
Img054 - Newspaper cutting from the Oxford Mail November 1959. Ancient Rites Preserved. Witney Justices yesterday approved an application from the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Junketing for an occasional licence to hold a dance at Bampton. "It is interesting to see that their motto is 'Dynamic, yet disciplined'," the clerk, Mr. Roy H. Weeks, told the justices. Inspector A. T. Smith explained that the Society organised Bampton's annual Great Shirt Race. The licence was granted.
Img066 - A route map for the 2002 Shirt Race drawn by Janet Westman.
Img221 - An article from the July 2012 issue of The Beam. An account of the 60th annual shirt race, complete with a false start which meant most of the adults ran the race twice, by entrant Toby Hopkins.
Img222 - An article from the July 2012 issue of The Beam. An account of the origins of the Bampton Shirt Race, dreamed up by John Quick and Paul Bovington.
From the Witney Gazette. Cleopatra's on charge as shirt racers cut dash -
7:00am Monday 26th May 2014 in Witney. WALKING like Egyptians was out of the question for this team as they aimed for glory in the Bampton Shirt Race. Saturday’s 62nd annual fundraising fancy dress event saw 60 teams race through the village in pouring rain. The route was changed this year to avoid street closures which had caused traffic jams in recent years. The event, organised by the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Junketing (SPAJERS), raises money for treats for the village’s pensioners. SPAJERS member Don Rouse said: “Even with the awful weather, the whole event was wonderful. “Even though we changed the route, it went off perfectly and everyone was really pleased with the change. The Egyptian team was fabulous.” Race Like Egyptians team member and village resident Dr Martin Landray said: “The purpose of the race is to entertain the residents of Bampton and to raise money for the OAPs. “I have lived here all my life and been doing the race for about 15 to 20 years now – I’m very keen to keep the tradition going.”
Img317 - Witney Gazette May 21st 2014. The SPAJER's Shirt Race takes a new route to enable traffic to pass through Bampton all the time.
Img331 - In 1965 the WI created a scrapbook of life in Bampton at that time. The scrapbook was compiled by members of Bampton's Women’s Institute as their entry for the competition instigated by the National Federation to mark the golden jubilee of the movement. The Shirt Race was initiated by John Quick and Paul Bovington. This picture shows John Quick in the centre of the picture facing the camera.
Img332 - In 1965 the WI created a scrapbook of life in Bampton at that time. The scrapbook was compiled by members of Bampton's Women’s Institute as their entry for the competition instigated by the National Federation to mark the golden
jubilee of the movement. The Shirt Race was initiated by John Quick and Paul Bovington. This picture, taken in 1965, shows part of the parade of the contestants which takes place before the race.
2015.2.19 Shirt race - A crowd standing at the west end of the Market Square waiting for entrants of the Shirt Race to come past, about 1960. Mrs Fred Lomas is 5th from the left. (Leaning forward holding a light coloured handbag.)
2015.2.19 Shirt Race 1960s - Entrants in the Shirt Race running past the Talbot, early 1960s.
2015.4.3 img867 - Known as Rocky to most people in Bampton but Ernie Hunt to his family, he is seen here dressed for the shirt race. Rocky always joined in village events with enthusiasm. When Rocky died, his birth certificate showed him to be Ernest Bishop.
Shirt Race May 23rd 2015 - The Great Shirt Race in Bampton May 23rd 2015 had a huge number of entries and the time and effort people put into their costumes was amazing.
Shirt Race 2016 - Witney Gazette June 1st 2016. A double page spread about the Shirt Race on the Saturday of the May Bank Holiday. This is organised by the SPAJERS - Society for The Preservation of Ancient Junketing - to raise funds while having fun to make sure the senior citizens of Bampton also have fun. They are offered a day out the Wednesday after the August Bank Holiday (to Swanage in 2016) and they each get a Christmas card with £20 inside. Other events organised by the SPAJERS include the Donkey Derby held on August Bank Holiday Monday, Josie's Grand Draw held late in the year and they have a share in the proceeds for a wonderful firework display at the recreation ground.
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