The charitable side of... Pancake Day

Georgina Lock

Pancake Day races are a popular fundraising activity with many charities - although making the batter is riskier than you think.

On Shrove Tuesday, Christians traditionally confess their sins and ask for forgiveness in preparation for Lent.

Although the religious element still exists for many people, the more commonly used term Pancake Day implies the focus of the day has switched somewhat. The day started morphing 500 years ago when a woman rushed to church while tossing a pancake. Now people dress up, often in aprons, and race against each other, tossing pancakes as they run. As ever, charities are quick off the mark in using the occasion to raise funds.

One of the more popular events is the Great Spitalfieds race, organised by Alternative Arts, which raises a few hundred pounds each year for Save the Children's Children in Cities campaign from people willing to run a circuit around a brewery on London's Brick Lane.

Church groups, schools and clubs also get in on the fundraising fun.

So too does Cafod, although its main focus is on today's fasting day, Ash Wednesday.

The rush of thrill-seekers onto the streets has sent the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and St John Ambulance into safety-warning overdrive.

St John Ambulance issued a particularly nannying press release on its website entitled 'Make sure it's just eggs you break on Shrove Tuesday', which includes a pancake recipe interspersed with safety messages.

The rather far-fetched tips included advice on what to do if you slip on an egg and sprain your ankle, or if the batter mixture accidentally goes in your eye, alongside more obvious burns and food poisoning warnings.

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