THE New Year will once again roll in to the sound of trundling wheels in Ponteland.

The town’s popular wheelbarrow race will return this year after the centuries old tradition was cancelled last year during the height of the Covid pandemic.

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.

Organisers Ponteland 41 Club and Ponteland Rugby Club announced in November the annual event will take place on New Year’s Day.

The mile-long, circular course starts and ends at the Blackbird pub and sees money raised 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, Ponteland 41 Club and Ponteland Rugby Club are hoping for another great turnout.

Each competitor must push the wheelbarrow at least 200 metres during the course of the race. People working in teams of two push each other in a wheelbarrow along the course with team members switching half way through the race.

The event, which begins at 12pm, includes an open race, women’s race, introduced in 2016, and a junior race.

Adult teams pay £10 to enter, while children’s teams pay £5, and spectators are encouraged to make a donation.

Competitors are encouraged to don fancy dress for the race, which usually raises around £,2000 for the worthwhile causes.

Chairman of the Ponteland 41 Club, Philip Peacock, told the Courant in November: “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.”

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