Nineties pop band East 17 entertained the crowds topping off a successful return for Scottish Coal Carrying Championships in Fife village

Crowds were treated to some Nineties nostalgia when pop band East 17 performed to mark the successful return of the Scottish Coal Carrying Championships in Kelty.

The trio took to the stage in the car park at Kelty Community Centre yesterday (Saturday) where they entertained locals and visitors alike with some their popular chart hits.

The band’s performance rounded off a successful day for the event which was held in the Fife village for the first time in five years.

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Around 5000 people gathered in the streets to watch the gruelling event on a hot, sunny day which saw Wallace Nelson from Kinross winning the men’s race in 4:56 and Caroline Lech, from Carnock, the ladies in 5:02. While Rebeca Prowse from Broxburn won the girls race and Cohan Hunter from Kelty the boys.

Competitors take part in the Scottish Coal Carrying Championships through the streets of Kelty in Fife. Picture date: Saturday August 28, 2021. PA Photo. The annual event is one of only two Coal Races in the world and the men's race requires participants to carry a 50-kilo bag of coal and the women's race requires a 25-kilo bag of coal to be carried over 1000 metres through the village. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Launched in 1995, the annual event was created by Michael Boyle and is one of only two coal races in the world. His aim was to create an enduring link between the modern-day village and its’ rich coal mining heritage.

It hasn’t taken place for five years as lack of sponsorship saw it shelved between 2016 and 2019 while the impact of COVID-19 forced its cancellation in 2020.

This year, however, saw the full restoration of the event, thanks to sponsorship from National Pride UK Community Interest Company (CIC).

Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister and former Labour MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, together with National Pride UK directors presented prizes to the winning participants.

Competitors take part in the Scottish Coal Carrying Championships through the streets of Kelty in Fife. Picture date: Saturday August 28, 2021. PA Photo. The annual event is one of only two Coal Races in the world and the men's race requires participants to carry a 50-kilo bag of coal and the women's race requires a 25-kilo bag of coal to be carried over 1000 metres through the village. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

The men’s race requires participants to carry a 50-kilo bag of coal and the ladies’ race requires a 25-kilo bag of coal to be carried over 1000 metres through the village of Kelty. Children carry a 15-kilo bag of coal.

There’s also a mascots’ race, which this year saw Fife Flyers mascot Geordie Munro beat off competition from popular characters Spider-Man, Buzz Lightyear and Scooby Doo.

National Pride UK are specialists in re-purposing and rejuvenating redundant land and buildings, to support local health and social benefit through focused environmentally sustainable economic regeneration projects.

With its investor partner, National Pride UK recently purchased the 976-acre former coal mine of St Ninians and Loch Fitty, which is located near Dunfermline. The site is to be developed into an eco-therapy, leisure and wellness park to promote healthy activity, rejuvenation and mental resilience.

Wallace Nelson, from Kinross, goes on to win the Mens Race in the Scottish Coal Carrying Championships through the streets of Kelty in Fife. Picture date: Saturday August 28, 2021. PA Photo. The annual event is one of only two Coal Races in the world and the men's race requires participants to carry a 50-kilo bag of coal and the women's race requires a 25-kilo bag of coal to be carried over 1000 metres through the village. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

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Development plans include retaining the Charles Jencks landforms known locally as the ‘walnut whips’.

Michael Boyle, founder and race organiser, said: “A big congratulations to not just the winners, who certainly hit a rich seam of form on the day, but to all those who took part in making this such a marvellous event. As one of only two Coal Races in the world none of this could have taken place without the generous sponsorship of National Pride UK, National Lottery Awards for All Scotland, Fife Council and the Scotland’s Events Recovery Fund, as well as other sponsors.”

Irene Bisset, chairman of National Pride UK, said: “It was remarkable to see all those taking part in what has been an incredible test of strength and endurance. We were truly privileged to have had the opportunity to sponsor such a marvellous event, investing back into the local community.”

Pictured is the winner of the women's race: Caroiline Lech (correct, right), from Carnoch, Fife. With friend Ashley Jarvis (left). Pic: Colin Hattersley Photography.

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Pictured is the winner of the girls race Rebecca Prowse from Broxburn, West Lothian. Pic: Colin Hattersley Photography.
Competitors in the Junior Race take part in the Scottish Coal Carrying Championships through the streets of Kelty in Fife. Picture date: Saturday August 28, 2021. PA Photo. The annual event is one of only two Coal Races in the world and the men's race requires participants to carry a 50-kilo bag of coal and the women's race requires a 25-kilo bag of coal to be carried over 1000 metres through the village. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
The Scottish Coal Carrying Championships made a welcome return to Kelty, Fife. Pictured are contestants in the womens' race. Pic: Colin Hattersley Photography.
Pictured are contestants in the womens' race. Pic: Colin Hattersley Photography.
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown speaks to the crowds and competitors at the Scottish Coal Carrying Championships in Kelty in Fife. Picture date: Saturday August 28, 2021. PA Photo. The annual event is one of only two Coal Races in the world and the men's race requires participants to carry a 50-kilo bag of coal and the women's race requires a 25-kilo bag of coal to be carried over 1000 metres through the village. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
Competitors in the Mascot Race take part in the Scottish Coal Carrying Championships through the streets of Kelty in Fife. Picture date: Saturday August 28, 2021. PA Photo. The annual event is one of only two Coal Races in the world and the men's race requires participants to carry a 50-kilo bag of coal and the women's race requires a 25-kilo bag of coal to be carried over 1000 metres through the village. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
Competitors take part in the Scottish Coal Carrying Championships through the streets of Kelty in Fife. Picture date: Saturday August 28, 2021. PA Photo. The annual event is one of only two Coal Races in the world and the men's race requires participants to carry a 50-kilo bag of coal and the women's race requires a 25-kilo bag of coal to be carried over 1000 metres through the village. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire