It’s go-go-go for the 2012 Great Knaresborough Bed Race

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The stage is set for the 2012 Great Knaresborough Bed Race on Saturday, 9 June 2012.

90 beds will gather at Knaresborough Castle to be decorated in the theme of the year – ‘Olympic Nations’.

At 1 pm the Parade will start down through the High Street and Bond End and into the grounds of Conyngham Hall, where the decorations and fancy dress will come off and the Race itself will begin.



Geographical Theme for Bed Race

Bed Race chairman Alan Walgate of the organisers Knaresborough Lions said:

Lions departed from usual form this year by allocating an individual theme to each Bed Race team. “We decided on the overall fancy dress theme of Olympic Nations as a nod to this summer’s other major sporting event in London,”

But if we left it to each team to select a country we feared we would end up with scores of virtually identical displays. We saw that a way around this would be to give each team a separate country, which we allocated during the race line-up lottery draw in March.

This added a new feature to the draw and left some teams with countries they may not have known much about, like Kazakhstan, Congo, Papua New Guinea, Slovakia, Saudi Arabia or Belgium. Hopefully, they will have done their research to come up with bed decorations that are both appropriate and fun.

Equally, we trust the judges of the Bed Decorated Bed awards will have borne in mind the importance of research and imagination.

We have always thought that over the years Bed Race has galvanized the people of the area to be the superb athletes that we see among us. Now we hope it has also served an educational purpose in broadening geographical awareness,” added Alan Walgate.

Wheel Doctor for Broken Beds

For the first time, the Lions organisers of Bed Race are ensuring the presence of a ‘wheel doctor’ at Conyngham Hall. The service is being provided by long term sponsors, Piccadilly Motors.

Piccadilly Motors’ managing director Simon Watts said:

After all that training and the excitement on the day, what could be worse than a flat tyre minutes before the race?

Last year we saw several teams struggle to start because of tyre problems, so this year one of our technicians will be on hand to help out.

Piccadilly Motors are delighted to be supporting the Great Knaresborough Bed Race for the fifteenth year in succession. This event has gone from strength to strength and we are proud to be a part of its success.

It has become the focus for our own corporate charity activity. Over the years we have raised nearly £100,000 for Candlelighters, a local charity helping improve the lives of children suffering from cancer and their families; as well as raising valuable funds for Diabetes UK. Last year we raised £6,000 through our involvement in the Bed Race alone and are hoping to match this figure again in 2012.

Thanks to Sponsors

Knaresborough Lions president Phil Oldfield has praised the support Bed Race receives from local companies:

Because of the rising cost of mounting the event there is absolutely no way it would be held in its present form without the backing of a number of commercial organisations.

Gillette has been a sponsor for several years and saved the event when it was confronted by the need to bring in professional services to close the roads for the race. Piccadilly Motors has been our longest backer and has done much to aid the growth of Bed Race in its new era.

HACS plays a vital role in preparation of the site, and the provision of equipment and barriers. They also provide staff to help us carry out a number of important tasks on the day. G H Brooks, Belzona, S and B Utilities and Commercial Estates Group have all stood by us to help put on what we hope will be another fabulous day.

GSPK and Knaresborough Technology Park are again providing their premises for the park and ride service, and Eddie Brown Tours is running a free bus service. To all these, the Inter Group, Speedy and our other supporters, this is my opportunity to say a big ‘thank you’ for helping make Bed Race what it is,” Phil commented.

There are others to thank, too, including Harrogate Borough Council, Knaresborough Town Council and the North Yorkshire Highways Authority. St John Ambulance and the North Yorkshire Police and British Transport Police are all big supporters whose help we couldn’t do without.

It all contributes to a great community event run by volunteers and used by the organisers, our helpers and the teams to raise money for good causes. Last year the money raised was estimated at nearly £100,000.”

A Dip in the Nidd

John Dickson, Lions’ coordinator with the teams said:

Luckily, the Nidd isn’t swollen, though we did have a fair amount of rain at the beginning of the month and, of course, bucketloads in April. Hopefully, we won’t have torrential downpours as has happened once or twice before.

It will take something special if the river rises and runs so fast we have to abandon the swim. That has happened only twice in all Bed Race’s 46 years, but we have a contingency plan in place just in case.

Bed Race will be held whatever happens, come hell or high water.

There were 121 entries for this year’s Bed Race which had to be whittled down to a maximum field on the day of 90, selected by lottery in March. One team subsequently dropped out, giving a chance to the first-picked reserve.

Getting to Knaresborough and Road Closures

Park and Ride services provided by Eddie Brown Tours will run on Bed Race day between Knaresborough Technology Park/GSPK on Manse Lane, just off the York Road, and the town centre, turning around every 15 minutes or so from 10.00 am to 2.30 pm, and 3.30 to 6.30 pm, says Jon Coote, Lions safety officer.

Both parking and Park and Ride services are free, Northern Rail has made provision for those arriving by train to ensure everything contributes to making this a great family day out.

 Jon Coote, Lions safety officer said:

We are very grateful to GSPK for again allowing visitors to Bed Race to make use of the Knaresborough Technology Park premises, and to Eddie Brown for providing a bus and drivers free of charge. It all helps to reduce congestion in the town while allowing large numbers of people to see this great charity event.

Roads in and around Knaresborough are closed to traffic from midday to 5 pm. The Market and Silver Street close from noon, the High Street, Bond End, part of Boroughbridge Road and Harrogate Road are closed from 12.30 pm. There are closures, too, affecting Cheapside, Castlegate, part of Brewerton Street, Fisher Street, Castle Ings and Waterside from Castle Mills to High Bridge.

Race Arena and Field

Just like last year, spectators coming to Conyngham Hall field will be able to watch events unfold on a 10-metre LED unit, designed to operate come rain or shine – the Lions hope for more of the latter. There will be two or three roaming cameras getting the best of the parade and the Race, while giving live coverage of the teams swimming the Nidd, and in-between the action there will be screenings from last year’s Bed Race.

Lions publicity officer Nigel Perry said:

There is much that people want to see at Bed Race and it is difficult to enjoy vantage points where you can get a good overall view of the action.

By locating the screen in Conyngham Hall field thousands of people will be able to see what is happening and will get a close up view of what is perhaps the most stunning part of Bed Race, the river crossing. Along with live commentary from Stray FM, this will add to the attractions of the day.

There will be bars and catering, rides for kids and stalls manned by local charity groups at Conyngham Hall. Entrance is by Programme or £2 per adult; kids under sixteen enter free.

Further details are available on



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1 Comment

  1. hi there where can you park to see the bed race and its compeititons as i have to see them and have not been to one from school age thanks michael

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