Village comes together to remember Mick

New Year Ayton Tug of War. Into the river . pic richard ponter 150101e
New Year Ayton Tug of War. Into the river . pic richard ponter 150101e

Two village tug of war teams put their rivalry aside to pay tribute to the event’s former organiser.

Sides from East and West Ayton battled for bragging rights in the annual New Year’s Day tug of war.

But before the West’s shutout victory, participants and spectators held a minute’s applause for Mick Jay-Hanmer.

The popular councillor and pub landlord died last year, and played a huge role in keeping the madcap tradition alive.

“It’s an emotional day, but what he wanted to do was to keep this tradition going for the community,” said son Stephen, who aided the winning Ye Old Forge Valley side.

“He loved this and it’s important that the event is carried on for the community.”

Besides local pride, the two sides attempted to drag each other in the River Derwent to get their hands on a new shield named after Mick.

And a collection held for Saint Catherine’s Hospice raised £376 from the hundreds of onlookers who enjoyed the annual spectacle.

Cllr David Jeffels, who for many years was Mick’s colleague in the Derwent Valley ward, thanked helpers and collectors, adding: ”People were extremely generous and it was a great tribute to Mick who worked for the villages.”