MPs and the Press toss the pancakes

Photo Credit: See Li

Parliamentary Pancake Race

Members of Parliament and press people will race during Pancake Day, on the 17th of February. The competitors will gather at 9:45, in Victoria Tower Gardens - outside Houses of Parliament.

The event is organised by Rehab, a charity organization that enables people with mental disabilities and learning difficulties to achieve their places in the modern society.

“I do not think there is an event everywhere alike in the world,”says Karl Richardson, Head of Communications at Rehab Group. “It is a way to engage with people on a fun event, but on what is a serious subject as well.”

Shove Tuesday/Pancake Day

Shrove Tuesday is day that immediately precedes the Lent. This is a penitential and self-examination time before Easter.
Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday are among other way to name this occasion around the world. The concept is the same: to eat everything sweet and with a lot of fat, before the forty days of fasting.
Photo Credit: d.loop

In the United Kingdom, people celebrate the day with pancake races. The birth of this tradition remains quite vague.

The most reliable version has it that in 1445 a housewife raced till the church with her pan and tossing the pancake to prevent it from burning. She had been so busy cooking the treats that as she heard the shriving bell, which recalled the believers to the mass, she rushed out of the door with still all the kitchen equipment on.
According to tradition, this first happened in Olney (Buckinghamshire), where Racers will start also this year from Market Place.

What is Rehab?

Rehab group has organized ParliamentaryPancake Race for eighteen years.
“It is a publicity event: it raises awareness of the work that Rehab does in a form and in a way which is more engaging for MPs and Media,” says Karl Richardson.

According to the Head of Communication, such occasion is useful to remind the audience about the increasingly necessary services required by marginalized people.
Lawmakers and legislators, especially those who have these centres in their constituency – like Birmingham or New Castle –, give their time for free.

Preparing and attending the race is only one step. The organizations included in Rehab group are continuously challenged to make sure their cause is always at the front of legislation, media, and the public.

Karl Richardson states the media have been supportive during these events. He continues: “The race will receive global coverage, from China, United States, Central America, across Europe. However, our focus is really UK media. Our aim is that people see and recognize the name of Rehab and its work.  That could be beneficial for the people who use our services”.

The organisation started more than 60 years ago, when the Rehabilitation Institute was set up in Dublin. The centres in the UK have been active for more than 15 years. By now, 60/70 thousands of people have used their services, which vary from social care, training courses, and help for school leavers.

“The Parliamentary Pancake Race is a very quick event,” said Karl Richardson. “It will be finished at 11 o’clock and the proper race takes around 7/8 minutes. But it needs a lot of preparation: the pancakes need to be made, the pans to be oiled, and the chef hats ready for the racers.”
A lot of preparation is required to drive awareness towards the need of independence and reintegration of people with mental and physical disabilities.

Ready, steady, go.