SCARBOROUGH’S traditional seafront Boxing Day celebrations drew huge crowds.
Cllr John Blackburn, the Mayor of Scarborough, kicked off the annual Fishermen and Firemen’s Fund football match on the South Bay sands at 10.30pm.
The match ended in a 6-4 victory to the Fishermen team – although there was speculation that they fielded an extra five players.
Fred Normandale, the match referee, said it had been a clean game without incident or broken bones. He added: “It’s been going since 1893 and next year it will be my 50th game. It’s a fantastic tradition.”
Cllr Tom Fox, who is the assistant tractor driver at the lifeboat station, watched the game and agreed that it was good to keep the tradition going because it showed the character and personality of Scarborough. He said: “Things that are set for a good cause and continue in a good cause.”
Liz Blades, secretary of the Fishermen and Firemen’s Charity Fund, said that last year they raised just under £1,000 but were hoping for more donations this year because of the fine weather.
Cllr Janet Jefferson, who represents people living in the Old Town said it was a fantastic tradition. She added: “Everybody’s happy and it’s a lovely day.”
During the morning people contributed to street collections and to the Mile of Pennies, which started from the Lifeboat House and made its way along the seafront.
The raft race, which is now in its 39th year and organised by Scarborough Sub Aqua Club, started at 12.30pm and organiser Colin Lawson said that the course had to be shortened this year because of the very low tide and strong wind.
He said: “This is the greatest free show in Scarborough. There is a massive crowd and everyone is behaving themselves.”
The first raft home was powered by a team from the 1st Scarborough Scout Group and crew member Kevin Debenham said there had been a barrage of flour and eggs before they had got started. He added: “We didn’t have a test run beforehand. We just went for it.”
A team from Scarborough Town FC was placed second and Barry Gill said: “We were robbed. Our raft was like a floating brick. It was a good race and we really enjoyed it.