A PARLIAMENTARY TRADITION – CELEBRATING 21 YEARS OF THE REHAB PARLIAMENTARY PANCAKE RACE
Pancakes, crêpes, drop scones, hotcakes – call them what you like, the Rehab Parliamentary Pancake Race sees them demolished in seconds. Not because of their irresistible taste but because they’re vigorously tossed in the air by members of the House of Commons, the House of Lords as well as political correspondents, as they batter around a race course, vying for the winners’ title.
Since the first Rehab Parliamentary Pancake Race in 1998, the event has grown in popularity, with reportage by the BBC, ITN and CNN as well as being the subject matter of amused tourists’ holiday snaps.
MPs, Lords and members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery gather in Victoria Tower Gardens, next to the Houses of Parliament, where they swap their warm coats and woolly caps for aprons and chefs’ hats. It really is a sight to behold.
Having sized up the competition, most turn to concentrate on practising their flipping skills and ensuring that their shoe laces are firmly tied. As the teams line up for the race, or what’s better described as a battle, one can witness a steely hunger to win.
Rumour has it that before the use of milk in pancake batter, brandy and wine had been common. Seeing the antics of some of the race participants, you would be forgiven for thinking that some Houses of Parliament whisky had been slipped into the pancakes!
Despite all the fun and frolics of the event over the last 20 years, the Rehab Parliamentary Pancake Race has served to raise awareness of the work that Rehab does in enhancing the life chances of people with disabilities and others who are socially-excluded in the UK.