RECORD numbers took part in the 46th annual Oxenhope Straw Race.

Organisers have described the event, held on Sunday, as the "most successful in recent memory".

The race attracted 276 teams, comprising a total of 552 runners.

As part of the charity initiative, participants – many in fancy dress – carry 20kg bales of straw through the village and down drinks en route.

Covering around 2.5 miles, the course starts at the Waggon and Horses and takes in The Bay Horse, the ex-'Idiot Hut' social club, The Lamb and then the former Shoulder of Mutton, before an uphill push to the finish at the Dog and Gun.

Tipples sponsored by Timothy Taylor's, Saltaire Brewery, Northern Monk, Vocation, Moorhouses, Barker Bridge and Rudgate are downed.

Prizes are awarded for the fastest times and best fancy dress costumes.

Over the years, the event has raised more than £450,000 for good causes. Oxenhope Sue Ryder hospice Manorlands is one of the main beneficiaries, receiving 75 per cent of the funds raised.

A spokesperson for the organisers says: "The village of Oxenhope was once again alive with excitement and camaraderie on Sunday.

"This year's event saw an unprecedented turnout, and it was the most successful in recent memory.

"The race, which has been a cherished tradition now since 1975, lived up to its reputation as a test of endurance and creativity.

"The day featured laughter and friendly competition. We extend our gratitude to all the pubs for their continued support."

Oxenhope village councillor Robert Goulding judged the fancy dress and presented awards.

Straw race chair Robin Wright paid tribute to all those involved.

He added: "This year’s turnout was incredible.

"Seeing our community come together and support each other whilst raising funds for such worthy local causes is truly heartwarming.

"The event’s success was made possible by the dedication of approximately 60 volunteers, including straw race committee members, Scout service team members, marshals, A1 Traffic Management staff and Cullingworth Scouts. And special thanks go to Bunton’s for providing a road cleaner afterwards to tidy up the straw-strewn streets!"

With the funds raised this time, organisers are hopeful of nearing the milestone £500,000 mark.

And fundraising will be further boosted with a 'BeerNBales' presentation evening in September. The date and venue is to be finalised.

For further information about the straw race, together with details of future events and how to donate, go to