Paul Blake will open the Pudding Race

ORGANISERS of the fourth Great Lyme Regis Christmas Pudding Race have announced that this December’s event will be officially opened by a Paralympic gold medalist.

Former Lyme Regis schoolboy Paul Blake, who now lives near Dorchester, has agreed to be the principal guest at the Pudding Race on Saturday, December 3rd.

Paul, 25, won a gold medal at the London Paralympics in 2012 and went one better at Rio winning a gold in the 200 metres and a silver in the 400 metres.

Paul attended Woodroffe School when his parents lived in Lyme Regis and was delighted to accept the invitation to return to his former hometown.

As well as declaring the event open, Paul will also start the Chase The Pud Race before the main event.

This was introduced for the first time at the last Pudding Race in 2014 and will see runners of all ages, dressed in Father Christmas costumes, chasing  a runner dressed as a Christmas Pudding along the seafront to the Cobb and back again.

The main pudding race  – which sees teams of six in fancy dress complete a festive-theme obstacle course while carrying a Christmas pudding – was officially labeled as one of the UK’s most “brilliant but bonkers events” by the website, part of the TripAdvisor Group.

The event is organised by the Lyme Regis branch of Cancer Research UK. The three previous pudding races have raised around £12,000 for the charity.

Branch chairman Philip Evans commented: “We are delighted that Paul has accepted out invitation to open the pudding race. He’s a true sporting hero and a lovely young man who is an inspiration to aspiring disabled athletes. He will be coming along in his GB tracksuit and children will be able to have their photos taken with him and his Paralympic medals.”

Mr Evans also announced that George Symonds, owner of the Amusement Arcade on Marine Parade, has agreed to be the pudding race’s main sponsor having supported the three previous events in a similar fashion.

To date, 11 teams have indicated that they will be taking part for the unique Great Christmas Pudding Trophy, currently held by the Holly Volly Dollies from the Volunteer Inn, who have said they will defend their title.

Other activities on the day with include Father Christmas arriving on a sleigh drawn by reindeers, Santa’s grotto, Christmas singers, a Christmas pudding rollerskater and the not-to-be-missed Zumba warm up for team members and spectators.

* Father Christmas outfits can be acquired for £3 from the organisers by telephoning 07796 951991.

* For entry and sponsor forms for the main race, please sign up here.