How did Knaresborough Bed Race organisers feel about the event's return after three years

The chair of Knaresborough Bed Race said the triumphant return of the much-loved event at the weekend made him “feel very proud to be a  Knaresborian”.

By Graham Chalmers
Friday, 17th June 2022, 11:57 am

Huge crowds of people lined the streets of the town to watch 86 teams push, pull, and swim their decorated beds through the gruelling 2.4-mile course.

Kevin Lloyd, chair of the Knaresborough Lions Bed Race, said: “The atmosphere was almost tangible. We had the most amazing day.

The return of Knaresborough Bed Race attracted thousands of spectators, especially at the High Bridge near the packed Worlds End pub. (Picture by Graham Chalmers).

“The light, happy and friendly party atmosphere made me feel very proud to be a Knaresborian.

“The people of Knaresborough and our visitors played a big role in making the day so fabulous.”

After an enforced break during the Covid pandemic and the wash-out of 2019, there were plenty of nerves before this famous race’s much-

anticipated return.

But the day, which raises thousands of pounds for charity, could scarcely have gone any better.

Dry but cloudy, the sun and blue skies made an appearance only twice - for the parade of beds at 1pm, then the race itself at 3pm.

Knaresborough Bed Race, which was first held in 1966, is always a whole day spectacle and this year’s was also described as a whole-day success.

Starting at 10am with the judging of the best-dressed beds in the grounds of Knaresborough Castle, the fun continued with a fancy dress parade through the streets of Knaresborough at 1pm.

With roads closed round Knaresborough to ensure everyone’s safety, many spectators came by foot from Harrogate along a car-free Knaresborough Road.

Until the race itself started at 3pm, they were kept busy with an array of different catering options and fun events at Conyngham Hall.

As always, the organisation to ensure a family-friendly atmosphere was the result of an immense effort by organisers Knaresborough Lions and an army of volunteer marshalls, many of them provided by the race teams, themselves.

As chair of Knaresborough Lions Bed Race, Mr Lloyd admitted to having some anxiety before the big event, but said he was immensely grateful for everyone who had helped make it happen.

“The last few weeks have been a mix of excitement, anticipation and absolute terror - after two cancelled events during lockdown, what if it all went wrong?” he said.

“Thanks to great teamwork from members of Knaresborough Lions Club and our dedicated supporters, my fears were unfounded and we all had a great day.

“We had great support from Harrogate Borough Council, especially Tim Dabell and I must mention the council’s clean up crew who had ensured the town was left looking spotless within a couple of hours of the finish.

“Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association provide our water safety advice and manpower, what a great job they do.

“They seemed to bring a lot of new toys this year and I hope Derek Hammond and the team had fun. We know our runners are in safe hands.

“I also must mention Mike Hignett and Andy Pinder of RAYNET, their meticulous planning and provision of emergency radio cover is amazing. Andy also drives the Safety car for us.

“The list of supporters seems endless and I would like to express my thanks to them all.”

With Knaresborough’s pubs, cafes and shops still recovering from the influx of visitors, in particular at a jam-packed Worlds End pub, the Lions are already planning ahead for their next

community event.

Mr Lloyd said: “Knaresborough Lions are already working on the Beer Festival, which is part of FEVA festival in August. If your business did well out of Bed Race please consider helping us with this event by sponsoring a barrel of beer!”

As for the Bed Race, itself, the events is now penned in to return in 2023 with the organisers feeling that little bit more comfortable that with a huge success under their belts in 2022, next year won’t be quite so nerve-wracking.

Knaresborough Bed Race 2022: The main winners

The 2018 and 2019 champions, the brilliant Harrogate-based GH Brooks Men’s team, won the race once again in an incredible time of 12 minutes and 59 seconds.

A stunning result which has now seen the team finish 3rd, 2nd and first twice in the last four races since 2016.

The fastest Female Team was the Welly Wheelies who completed the course in 15 minutes and 14 seconds, with the Welly Wheelies also picking up the Fastest Non-Club Male Team and Fastest Female Junior prizes.

The fastest Mixed Team was the Flying Pullman who completed the course in 14 minutes and 49 seconds.