Exciting plans for 50th Knaresborough tug of war!

Flashback to last year's Great Knaresborough Tug of War. (1612262AM10)
Flashback to last year's Great Knaresborough Tug of War. (1612262AM10)
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Boxing Day is set to be a historic occasion for the two teams taking part in one of Knaresborough’s most popular festive traditions.

The Great Knaresborough Tug of War reaches its 50th year this Christmas having survived fallings-out, fallings-in (to the River Nidd) and the occasional serious flood.

But for spectators, this great Knaresborough tradition has always been a great way of getting the family out of the house on Boxing Day to cheer on the teams!

Next Tuesday’s event which starts at noon, will, as always, be organised by the same two pubs who also provide the teams.

The Half Moon Free House and The Mother Shipton Inn will be fielding two teams each - one with eight men and one with eight women.

Helped this year by Knaresborough Town Council after last year’s event proved, perhaps, more eventful than expected, the tug of war of always attracts huge crowds to the Waterside to watch the two teams pull across the River Nidd at Low Bridge.

Knaresborough Mayor Coun David Goode will be providing some valuable input by refereeing the event while Coun Andrew Willoughby will be acting as MC.

There will also be a PA system provided by local man and fundraiserJohn Bradd, well known for organising Calcutt Gala.

Despite some organisational hitches last year, the famous event still pulled a crowd of close to 1,000 people.

This year’s teams pulling the rope are all made up of men and women from the Knaresborough community who will not only be doing battle with each other but also with the cold.

Fingers are being crossed that there is no repetition of Boxing Day 2015 when flooding hit several properties on the Waterside and forced the event to be postponed until the New Year.

It’s a big day for the organisers, too. The Mother Shipton Inn has recently had a refurbishment and it will be Sam and Tony’s first Christmas there.

Max, Katie and the team at The Half Moon Free House, meanwhile, are celebrating their fifth Christmas at the pub since they bought it and renovated it in 2012.

Last year’s tug of war raised funds for Yorkshire Cancer Research and the RNLI.

This year’s charities are Saint Michael’s Hospice and Autism Angels.

Both pubs will be open on the day from noon offering mulled wine, mince pies and seasonal cheer.