“THIS one’s for Roy” was the poignant tribute from organisers of Longnor Wakes Races as they dedicated last Thursday’s successful event to their former chairman Roy Mellor.
Spectators and competitors basked in glorious sunshine as the age-old spectacle of traditional harness racing returned to the beautiful setting of Longnor Moor, its home for over 100 years.
The bumper crowd was, as usual, treated to some thrilling four-legged action in the horse races, later followed by high-octane two-wheeled action in the grass track races.
Stephen Johnson, Chairman of the Longnor Sports Committee, said there had been a particular desire to make this year’s event a success in memory of Roy, who sadly passed away in June.
Roy had sat on the organising committee for 46 years, serving for 22 years as vice-chairman and eight years as chairman.
“He is very sadly missed by us all. He was a very loyal member of the committee and worked very hard,” Stephen said.
Patrons observed a minute’s silence in memory of Roy, and a special award in recognition of his service to the event was accepted by his widow Linda. A special commemorative seat will also to be situated at the nearby St Batholomew’s Church.
On the track, Jay Knows Best, driven by Andrew Stenhouse, was the overall winner of the Longnor Sports Handicap, edging the grand final over favourite Harry Capper, ridden by Andrew Cairns. Both qualified for the flagship finale as heat winners.
Earlier in the day, there was success in the gymkhana for two youngsters making their Longnor debuts.
Three-year-old Lily Bentley, from Chapel-en-le-Frith, on her pony Chance, took first place, two second places and a special award.
Ruby Garlic, aged two, from Chelmorton, won the prize for the overall best turned out horse and rider.
Vice-Chairman of Longnor Sports Committee, Richard Gould, praised the success of the annual event: “It’s been a really good day and the sunshine has definitely helped bring the people out. We’ve done really well, considering this time last week parts of the track were waterlogged.”
Staffordshire Moorlands took a one-two-three in the evening’s fell race to secure the team prize.
The race was won by Jack Ross in a time of 21 minutes and eight seconds, ahead of Longnor local Jason Burgess and veteran Andy Wilton.
Jo Bednall was the first woman to cross the line in a time of 30 minutes and 35 seconds.
Buxton Athletic Club’s Elliott Meylan was the first boy finisher and Lucy Bednall was the first girl to cross the line first for the girls.