As Winnie the Pooh fans will know, Pooh and his friends enjoyed a game of Pooh Sticks on the river as described in AA Milne’s much loved books. The World Pooh Sticks Championships started when the Lock Keeper noticed walkers recreating Pooh’s pastime on the River Thames and hit on the idea that this would be an excellent way of raising money for his favourite charity, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. The event soon took off and following the Lock Keeper’s retirement, the Rotary Club of Sinodun took over the running of the event for many years, until the event’s 25th anniversary in 2008. They then passed the baton (or Pooh Stick!) on to the Rotary Club of Oxford Spires in 2009 which is proud to carry on this wonderful event which this year will be celebrating its 30th anniversary.
The World Pooh Sticks Championships have become so well known across the world that it has been known to attract up to 1,500 people and has enjoyed local, national and worldwide television coverage in more recent years. The fame of Pooh Sticks is such that it has even been the subject of a University Challenge question and featured in films and television programmes (‘To The Manor Born’). It is often featured in order to demonstrate unusual and quirky English traditions. In fact, readers of Countryfile Magazine voted The Pooh Sticks Championships as Britain’s Favourite Quirky Event, 2012.
On 13 October 2013, heats and finals will be held to determine the Individual World Champion and the Team World Champions. Once again it will be organised by the Rotary Club of Oxford Spires with help from the Rotary Club of Wallingford, Sinodun & District (WSD) as well as other local Rotary and Rotaract clubs. Members of Little Wittenham village will provide teas and cakes outside the parish church of St Peters, WSD Rotary Club will be firing up the BBQ and we will have plenty of other activities as well as the main event of Pooh Sticks on both bridges across the Thames. The event is supported by South Oxfordshire District Council’s Go Active initiative and the Community Games, and visitors will be able to take part in Nordic Walking taster sessions as part of this support.
The World Pooh Sticks Championships is a fantastic day out for all the family and an event that all ages can enjoy. Monies raised at the event go to the RNLI, Little Wittenham Church and various charities supported by the Rotary Clubs of Oxford Spires and Wallingford, Sinodun & District.
The above is a press release from the Rotary Club
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