Yet another fantastic Kilworth weekend! Even the rain and poor weather could not dampen the spirits of the 34 teams that took part in the 24th Kilworth Challenge over the Bank Holiday weekend of 24-25th May.  Their efforts also raised over fifty thousand pounds for disabled and disadvantaged children.

The amount declared on the day was 53073 pounds and when the generous donation from Kilworth House Hotel and Theatre has been included and further enhanced by `gift aid` contributions, it will undoubtedly rise above the 60000 pounds mark. This was some 10% higher than last year and is a really amazing total to come from such an event, taking the cumulative total over the 24 years of the Challenge to in excess of 1.1 million pounds,

This year the teams came from different parts of the country but the local ones took most of the prizes. The Kilworth Challenge 2014 winning team was `Keeping up with Jones` comprising Steve Barker, Alex Jones, Peter Jones and Chris O`Neill. Steve lives in Market Harborough and the others have strong family ties with North Kilworth. For each of the Jones brothers this is their second time of winning and very much following in the footsteps of their father, also a former winner. Second was `Don`t Look Back` with Tony Brown, Keith Richmond, Simon Johnson and Alex Heathcote, all from Leicestershire. Third was `The Go Go Squad`, another local team comprising Nick Coles, Edward Chilton, Brodie Faint and Nick White. They also took the Thinkers Prize awarded to the team that was best at the challenges that demanded a high level of intellectual effort. The over 40s category was won again by a long standing team in the competition, `The Kilworth Lions`, comprising Adam Herring, John Linnell, Stefan Green and Neil Foster.

The All Female Team Winners was `Hackney Honeys` made up of Charlotte Brennan, Eve Bunting, Niamh McGuiness and Georgy Dean. The mixed category was won by last year`s overall winners `Koggys Kaos`, a Lutterworth based team of Lorna Richmond, Vicky Hipkins, Sam Taylor and Charlie Turner.

The trophy for raising the most sponsorship at an amazing 4168 pounds went to `Victorious Secret`, an all girls team comprising Bethan Kench, Megan Ribton, Kate-May Driver and Catherine Marsh. They also would have won the All Female category except they had to make a substitution due at an injury on the first day. Second in the sponsorship with 4035 pounds were the Kilworth team `We Stand Erected` with Simon Jones, Ed Ward, Tommy Renshaw and Pete Leatherhead; `Keeping up with the Jones` were third with 3722 pounds, all three were tremendous results.

The fastest female yomper was Jessica Edge from South Kilworth and Jacob Kench from Lutterworth again taking the male prize.

The 34 teams tackled 39 challenges over the two days and had to be in a specific place at a specific time to do a specific task. This meant walking and running well over 30 miles through south Leicestershire in about a 12 mile radius of North Kilworth. The weather was especially bad on Saturday with torrential rain which soaked everyone, marshals and competitors. Sunday was a bit kinder and the sun actually managed to shine. As ever the challenges covered the usual range of those requiring physical strength, mental agility and all important team work – some were tough while others were just plain fun. They featured a longer obstacle course swinging, racing in the very muddy fields, canoeing (even more water and mud), dunking stools, a variety of word and number puzzles, and racing in engineless go-karts and chariots. The biggest challenge of course was to see how much funding they could raise. Many of the competitors thought that this was the hardest Challenge for some time with some really tough physical challenges exacerbated by the very poor weather and conditions.

Some great team names appeared this year, always a major source of amusement to all……..they included `Whale oil beef hooked, Big Ben strikes 10` (it`s all in how it is pronounced), `Wigleigh Old Fs`, `The Fabulushes`, `Multiple Scorgasms!`, `One Dad and 3 Lads` and `Goodbye Accrual World`.

This bulk of this year`s sponsorship will go to Dukes Barn in Derbyshire, Leicestershire Youth, and Over the Wall, three Midland based charities that help disadvantaged and handicapped children. The remainder will go to local charities and good causes in the Kilworth and Market Harborough area.

The organizers (Colin Clarke, Paul Whitehead, Mike Lawrence, Bruce Phillips, Nick Otter, Duncan Moss, Mick Faulkner and Manfred Morris) would like to express their appreciation for everyone that had helped, especially the marshals sticking to their tasks with tremendous determination, all the landowners and the Kilworth House Hotel and Theatre but special thanks goes to the competitors themselves who kept smiling despite the often horrendous conditions. Next year will be the 25th Challenge and we are looking forward to a very special `silver` event.