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Gallery: Great Finborough and Haughley square up in historic Race of the Bog Men challenge

PUBLISHED: 23:02 21 April 2014

Teams from Great Finborough and Haughley take part in the historic Race of the Bog Men

Teams from Great Finborough and Haughley take part in the historic Race of the Bog Men

A century-old rivalry between neighbouring villages was revived yesterday as two teams raced across the Suffolk countryside during an Easter tradition dating back to 1897.

Hundreds of spectators turned out to watch Haughley take on Great Finborough in the annual “Race of the Bog Men” – a mile-long run across the fields from Boyton Hall to the Chestnut Horse pub.

Angela Crocker, landlady at the pub in Great Finborough, said it was a “fabulous” day and a “huge success”.

“It’s been amazing,” she said. “We’ve had such a wonderful atmosphere and everyone has been fantastic.”

The race dates back to the late 19th Century when, according to legend, a group of agricultural workers facing the sack for drunkenness, were made to fight for their jobs against rivals from Haughley.

The farmer from Boyton Hall is believed to have thrown the employment contract in the air, marking the start of a race across the fields towards the Chestnut Horse pub to claim the work.

This year’s race saw the team of six from Haughley triumph over Great Finborough, marking an end to four years of defeats.

Organisers are hoping the event will match the £800 raised last year, to be split between Great Finborough Primary School and St Andrew’s Church.

Greene King provided four free barrels of beer to be sold in aid of the charitable cause and there were cake sales, barbecues and other fundraising initiatives.

Ms Crocker has praised committee members from the church and school for helping to organise the event, as well as her staff who, she said, “worked their socks off”.

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