A POPULAR annual event will be returning this year.

The Ponteland Wheelbarrow Race has been an annual event in the town for over 700 years.

It was unable to go ahead last year due to the pandemic, but organisers have now announced the event will once again take place on New Year's Day.

The mile-long circular course starts and ends at the Blackbird pub.

The event will raise money for local charities St Oswald's Hospice and Tynedale Hospice at Home, which provide care and support to people with life-limiting illnesses and their families.

The 2019 race was one of the best attended in the event's history, and after having to cancel last year's race due to the pandemic, organisers Ponteland 41 Club and Ponteland Rugby Club are hoping for another great turnout.

Chairman of the Ponteland 41 Club, Philip Peacock, said: “It is fantastic to be able to announce the return of the Wheelbarrow Race, which is a hugely anticipated event on Ponteland’s social calendar.

“We are currently deep in the planning stages to pull out all the stops this year and it’s already shaping up to be another amazing event.”

The Blackbird will have a pizza oven and a barbecue outside the pub, along with seating and a fully stocked bar at the tipi and hot drinks served throughout the day.

Stuart Young of the Northumberland Pub Company, which operates the Blackbird, said he is looking forward to the return of the event.

“The Wheelbarrow Race is not only great fun for all involved but also raises a huge sum of money for two very worthwhile causes, so it’s great news that it will be back in January,” he said.

“We have a new outdoor street food kitchen and our very own tipi this year, so we hope supporters will stay back after the race to make the most of everything on offer.

“It’s always a brilliant day out for people of all ages and I can’t think of a better way to start the new year.”

The race is believed to date back to the early 1300s when the Lord of the Manor encouraged residents to scour the countryside to survive a particularly harsh winter.

To sign up for the race, visit https://www.theblackbirdponteland.co.uk/assets/images/Ponteland-Wheelbarrow-Race-Entry-Form-2022-2.pdf