AS LENT fast approaches many on Portland are practicing their flipping skills in preparation for the annual Shrove Tuesday celebrations.

The annual Pancake Day race, sponsored by the Dorset Echo, will once again take place on the rectory lawn at All Saints Church on Tuesday, February 28.

For the 27th year, children and adults of all ages and abilities will race to the finish line, pausing half way for a victorious pancake flip.

Portland town crier Stuart Cave will kick-start the festivities with a rousing cry sharply at 10.30am.

Taking over the helm from former Echo reporter Hilda Swinney is Jan Camp.

She said there was much to look forward to at this year’s event.

Jan said: “This year we have pre-school children, children from St. George’s School, adult races and a team from Tesco running against a team from the Co-op, so it should be a fun event.

“The highlight should be a race between Tesco and the local Co-op.I think both teams are practising hard for this event. All partakers will need their own pancake and pan and I shall be checking that they are not stuck down.”

In total there will be seven races with Mayor of Portland Sandy West on hand to give prizes for each person coming in first, second and third She said: “Roll on Pancake day. I’m really, really looking forward to it.

“I will be racing too, if I can beat the five-year-olds then I will be happy. It can get really competitive but it’s all good fun.

“It’s an annual event and everyone gets involved, it’s a really community event.

“So much goes on in Portland, and there’s not many people on the island who don’t come out to event like these and support the community.”

Rev James Menzies, a previous pancake-race champion, said: "Pancake Day is always the day before the season of Lent begins. Lent is a time when many Christians give up something to help them become more disciplined followers of Jesus.

"Traditionally Shrove Tuesday -Pancake Day- was when people used up luxury items before beginning Lent, and often made them into pancakes. It is a bit of a blow-out before forty days of fasting and strict living."