Pub owner’s appeal after 100-year-old Bog Racing trophy goes missing
- Credit: Archant
An appeal has been made for the return of a 100-year-old trophy awarded to the winner of Suffolk’s historic Great Finborough bog race for over a century.
The small trophy, which depicts two men competing in the race, has been a century old feature behind the bar at The Chestnut Horse in Great Finborough, which is the finishing line for the annual 'Race of the Boggmen'.
Sadly, after a mother and son partnership took over the running of the pub, they noticed that the much-loved local artefact had gone.
Rob Shipp who now runs the pub with his mother Sharon Robinson said he was devastated to find that the trophy had disappeared.
He said: "The trophy has been behind the bar for years and it is really missed.
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"The race means a lot to residents around here and so does the trophy so we really want to have it back. Otherwise we might have to see if we can find someone who can replicate it again.
"We used to own the pub from 2004 to 2007 and we helped organise the race each year. When we left the race petered out a bit so we were really keen to get it going again. Everyone in the village who we have spoken too are also really up for it.
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The competition typically sees villagers from neighbouring Haughley fight it out with Great Finborough to be the first to enter the threshold to the pub holding a fake contract, which gives a nod to the original tale behind the race involving a group of men from each village competing for a work contract at a nearby farm.
Fortunately, the original contract, dated back to 1897, remains in the pub and is still proudly displayed behind the bar.
However, Mr Shipp and his mother are desperate to have the trophy for next years' contest.
Mr Shipp added: "We are planning the event for the end of spring next year. We will be sure to start it up again. We have been back in the pub for a couple of weeks and it has gone really well. It's nice to be back."
Potential spectators are advised that the race will go ahead whatever the weather and usually starts at 4pm.
In previous years there have been events throughout the day to entertain the crowds who flock from the two villages and further a field to support the two teams.
The 'race of the Boggmen' traditionally goes ahead on Easter Monday, seeing a team of six people from Great Finborough and Haughley race over a mile from Boyton Hall to the pub.
According to legend, a group of men faced with being sacked from their jobs at nearby Boyton Hall for drunkenness had to fight it out for the contract with a rival group of workers from nearby Haughley.
The farmer from Boyton Hall is believed to have thrown the contract in the air and let the two teams compete to see who could get it across the fields to the pub first, with the victors taking the summer's work.
The tradition began 1897 and has been a yearly feature on the calender of locals ever since.
The course is over muddy fields and tracks and competitors attempt to tackle those from the other team to take the contract from each other before sprinting to the finishing line.