Theme for 50th Great Knaresborough Bed Race announced

26 October 2014

Knaresborough Lions have announced that the theme for the 50th Great Knaresborough Bed Race is to be ‘Popular Culture from the Past 50 Years’, in a celebration of the unique contribution made by this great North Yorkshire event.

Next year’s Bed Race will be staged on 13 June 2015, on the second Saturday in the month in line with a tradition stretching back to the first race in 1966.

Bed Race organisers, the Knaresborough Lions Club, have picked another theme that allows great interpretation, says organising committee chairman Martin Brock said: Our aim, as ever, is to deliver as broad a canvas on which the teams can exercise their wonderful creativity.

A full field of 90 teams with their beds all very finely decorated, and their members and supporters dressed accordingly, provides a fantastic spectacle.

The pageant of the decorated beds being gathered at Knaresborough and then parading through town is a highlight for many people who come to watch.

The fact that the designs are so varied adds greatly to the appeal.

Because next year’s event marks a half-century of racing beds in Knaresborough meant that we also wanted to signal this in our theme. Let the fun begin!

The Great Knaresborough Bed Race has been held each year since 1966. It is organised by volunteers and raises money for charities and good causes. It is estimated that by the teams, charity groups and the Lions somewhere between £80,000 and £100,000 has been raised each year at recent Bed Races.


Some 630 runners and passengers take part, along with several hundred of their supporters who take part in the parade. There are said to be a couple of thousand more who help by stitching costumes and building beds and bed decorations. 250 volunteers turn out on the day to marshal the course, provide catering and help in other ways the main organisers, the 36-member Knaresborough Lions Club.

More details are available on

Martin Brock said: Entry forms will be posted on the website on 1 January and forms need to be completed and returned by the end of February. Where, in recent years, we have needed a lottery to decide on the final race order we have held this in the first week of March, and expect to do the same next year. The draw will be a public event and all entrants will be invited.

The Great Knaresborough Bed Race is one of the largest community events held in the North of England. It has sparked interest in racing with beds all over the world and there are now similar races in North America, Europe, South Africa, New Zealand and the Far East.

Martin Brock said: The basic format of our event in Knaresborough has remained the same since the third or fourth year: a pageant of the decorated beds through the town, then a race run as time trials through a winding 2.4 mile course.

There is something unique about our topography: the Gorge, Waterside, the steep climb to the Castle, the clatter across cobblestones, the run through the park and the final swim through the ever-icy River Nidd.

The basic format will always stay the same, hopefully, but for the 50th race next year we are planning some side events to help make it an extra special day. We will let people know about these in due course.

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