OVER 200 teams took part in today's Oxenhope Straw Race.

And warm sunshine brought crowds out in their droves to witness the annual charity extravaganza.

Organisers said the number of entrants was slightly down on last year but they are still hopeful that once all sponsorship money is collected, the £9,000 raised in 2013 can be beaten.

"We put the drop in entries down to a bit of Tour fatigue!" said race secretary Jane Barrett.

"Also we changed the date this year to avoid clashing with the Grand Depart, so that may have had an effect.

"But it was still a really good event. We were lucky with the weather and there were plenty of people along the route.

"We've already got at least £2,500 in pledges, and that's on top of entry fees, so it's looking like a successful year."

For the first time, the race – in which two-strong teams, many in fancy dress, carry a bale of straw through the village and down drinks at various stops – began from Oxenhope Railway Station.

Competitors covered a course of just under two miles, taking in the Bay Horse, Oxenhope social club, the Lamb and the former Shoulder of Mutton, and finishing at the Dog & Gun.

Will Smith and Ian Holmes retained their crown, finishing the race in 14 minutes 14 seconds.

The main beneficiary from the straw race is Manorlands, the village's Oxenhope Sue Ryder hospice, but a number of charities receive donations.

In its 38-year history, the event has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for good causes.

Last year, 230 teams took part and 10 charities received donations.

* For a full report and photo special, see Thursday's Keighley News