News Shopper article by Nikki Jarvis
And they’re off!
The third annual Greenwich Charity Pantomime Horse Race got underway on Saturday, raising more than £1,000 during the launch party at Ye Olde Rose and Crown.
Mark Biddiss, organiser, is hoping to reach an ambitious target of £10,000 for Demelza Hospice Care for Children during this week of exciting events.
And with celebrities including Squeeze, Bill Bailey, Jools Holland and Arthur Smith prepared to horse around for the cause – it looks like he’s on to a winner.
The passionate fundraiser has dedicated the last four months to organising the mammoth chain of events.
He said: “On Sunday December 23, Greenwich will playing host to a series of unusual events that will culminate in the annual Charity Pantomime Horse Race which is an altogether bigger affair this year, with 20 ‘horses’ running, along with various fruit and vegetables and Monty Python’s King Arthur (and Patsy) in aid of Demelza Children’s Hospice.
“Set to be the biggest such race ever held in London, it will be launched by comedian and BBC presenter Arthur Smith, who will be taking part in the race – as an ostrich.
“Comedian Bill Bailey, BBC Host Jools Holland, Squeeze front man Glenn Tilbrook and members of Team GB gold medallists have also signed specially designed t-shirts which bare the logo ‘Nay the Horse Be with You’.”
These shirts, along with items donated by Jamie Oliver, Paul Cook from the Sex Pistols and veteran entertainer Tommy Steele, will be sold at a special charity auction on December 21.
Mark will be hosting the exclusive Christmas auction dinner at De Vere Hotels, with all proceeds going directly to Demelza.
The mane event, the hysterical horse race at 1pm on December 23, sees around 20 comedy stallions take on drinking challenges at several Greenwich pubs starting at Ye Olde Rose and Crown.
Devonport House will play host to the pre-race ceremony (from 12pm), and is set to feature plenty of entertainment for kids including Father (and Mother) Christmas, face painting and stars from Greenwich Theatre’s panto, Robin Hood.
The Pantomime Horse Race, which was last year won by a zebra, starts at around 1pm.
Not The Rolling Stones will be performing a charity gig to celebrate the end of the race in style.
The concert will take place at Oliver’s Bar in Nevada Street, and The Counterfeit Beatles’ Peter Bailey – aka Paul McCartney – will be supporting the headliners.
Tickets are £20.