It’s an annual New Year’s day tradition in the little village of Sutton Valence in Kent, southern England. Contestants decorate prams and hurtle down a hill at speed on their creations.
However, the usually jovial tradition took a tragic turn this year when a man dressed as a pilot was thrown from his makeshift cart, made up to look like a World War Two plane. The man is now fighting for his life after suffering serious head injuries.
Footage taken just before the accident showed a homemade Spitfire design with three men dressed in old fashioned style aviator jackets speeding down a hill. Spectators were cheering and clapping as they saw the speeds the cart was travelling at, before it turned over.
Head and neck injuries
The victim is understood to be a 52 year old. He has not been officially named, but locals say his nickname was Titch. A friend said that he had a suspected broken jaw, fractured skull and a neck injury. She added: “We saw it, it was awful, they went out of control.”
The cart was in the lead before the trio fell off. A man was airlifted to King’s College Hospital in London, where he is understood to be in a critical condition. He is understood to have been the driver, who was being pushed by two other men. Images at the start of the race show that the man was strapped in the pushchair-type contraption and is unlikely to have been able to get out when the accident happened.
The event takes place every year, with competitors wearing fancy dress speeding around the village in homemade vehicles, stopping off for a drink in three pubs. It has been running for 37 years and attracts thousands of spectactors, but the man’s injuries have raised serious health and safety concerns.