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Have a fun-packed family day out at the World Pooh Sticks Championships

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When English author A A Milne wrote a little story for his son about a honey bear racing sticks along a river with a unique assortment of his friends, it is unlikely he could have envisaged quite what a phenomenon pooh sticks would become.

First mentioned in The House at Pooh Corner, the game came about when Winnie the Pooh accidentally dropped a pine cone in the river. The bear then devised the rules of the game, which consisted of dropping sticks into a river from a bridge and seeing which made it to the other side first.

In a fit of typical English eccentricity the game was seized upon, and continues to be played to this day, most notably at the World Pooh Sticks Championships, this year taking place on Sunday March 27th. Once again, the festivities will be held at Days Lock in Little Wittenham, Oxfordshire, with the main event taking place on both bridges across the Thames.

Slated to attract between 1000 to 2000 fans of the game, the Annual World Pooh Sticks Championships is organised by the Rotary Club of Oxford Spires in association with other local Rotary and Rotaract clubs. An idyllic day out for families, both individual and team events take place, so everyone can try their hand at the sport. Due to the nature of the game, adults have no real advantage over kids and the title of World Pooh Sticks Champion has often gone to under-5s in the past.

In keeping with the family friendly nature of the event, there will also be many other quintessentially English attractions on, including hook a duck, splat the rat, treasure island, roll a penny, welly throwing, guess the number of sweets in a jar, animal hunt and hoopla. In addition, it is hoped there will be a bouncy castle, beat the goalie and a coconut shy to add to the festivities. Tigger and Pooh Bear are also set to make special guest appearances, which will no doubt make the day of any little ones who are fans of the books. As if that wasn't enough, the village is also hosting face painting, teddy tombola, a book stall, rotary aquafilter kid, rotary shelterbox tend and a nappy cakery, to ensure a action-packed day out.

It is recommended that teams sign up in advance, using the competition's official website. On the day, those who have already registered can sign in at the Registration Tent from 10.30am. Individuals are able to register on site from 11:00 (GMT) with the games beginning at 11:30 (GMT). To enter a team of four costs £10 and individuals are asked to pay just £2.

Families thinking of heading to the festivities are reminded that the clocks go forward one hour on Saturday March 26th, so as not to be late for the championships.

The event was started in 1984 by lockkeeper Lynn David, as a fundraising event for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. He noticed walkers imitating the game played by Pooh Bear, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore and Christopher Robin, which inspired his fundraising idea.

People interested in entering the team event at the World Pooh Sticks Championships should submit the entry form.


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