The ‘Classique’ Road Race – London – 29 July 2017

The ‘Classique’ is the richest women’s one day race in professional cycling with a prize of 25,000 Euros to the winning individual, and 10,000 Euros to the winning team. It is part of the Prudential RideLondon weekend and a leg of the UCI World Tour. The race takes place on a 5.5km route starting and finishing in The Mall and taking in Constitution Hill, Birdcage Walk, Whitehall and Strand. The race was won by Coryn Rivera (USA) of team Sunweb in testing wet conditions.

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P-51B ‘Berlin Express’ Flies to UK from the States – IWM Duxford, Cambs – 4 July 2017

A North American P-51B Mustang fighter named ‘Berlin Express’ has flown from the US to Duxford tracing the route it flew in 1942; via Canada, Greenland, Iceland and Scotland. Many aircraft did the same as part of the build up of forces in wartime UK, usually in large groups. Some failed to complete the journey. ‘Berlin Express’ was accompanied by a Beech King Air. The P-51 it represents came to fame when reportedly flying UNDER the Eiffel Tower during a dogfight in 1944. Pilot Lee Lauderback made the 5470 mile flight so that the Mustang can take part in the Flying Legends airshow at the weekend and RIAT a week later, the first time this early mark of P-51 has flown in Europe since the war. Following its arrival at Duxford the long range tanks were removed in preparation for display practices.

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Southend Raft Race – Thorpe Bay, Essex – 25 June 2017

Last run in the 1990s, the Raft Race returned for 2017. Various amateur teams built their own rafts and raced from Thorpe Bay, east of Southend town, on a short course in the Thames Estuary . The event organised by Thorpe Bay Rotary Club raised funds for various charities including the local RNLI, who supplied cover for the event. Strong winds and choppy seas made the going hard with few vessels making the finish line, and some travelled further backwards than forwards! One group winning raft had local Olympian Dean Macey amongst the crew, but the overall win went to the Watchcraft team.

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Trooping the Colour – The Mall – 17 June 2017

The annual ceremony was a little more subdued this year with The Queen initiating a minutes silence to the lives lost in recent events. The Colour was trooped by 1st Battalion Irish Guards, with regimental mascot Domhnall joining the parade along The Mall. Crowd numbers were down on previous years, possibly in part due to the heat as well as the fears for safety. The Duke of Edinburgh took his place by The Queen’s side for the first time in a suit having announced that he would be stepping back from public engagements.

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Celebrity Charity Football Match – Hullbridge, Essex – 18 June 2017

A Celeb FC team took on a Hullbridge XI at their Hullbridge Sports and Social Club ground to raise funds for Crossroads Care, helping Brentwood and Basildon carers. Organised by Karin Flower (winner of the Inspirational Woman of the Year Award 2017), the celebrity team included Rob Lamarr (Ch5 TV), DJ Pied Piper (‘Do You Really Like It’), George Gilbey (Gogglebox), Marlon Wallen and Jason Burrill (Big Brother), Josh Croswell (model), musicians and singers J Millz and Derry Mensah, plus semi-pro footballers Paul Shelock, Callum Flanagan, Ady Thomson and Chris Jennings and also Darren Taylor (sponsor).

In stifling 30 degrees C heat the celebrities took an early three goal lead in a surprisingly aggressive game with no quarter asked or given, before the home team finally pulled back to take a 5-3 win. Injuries had effectively left the celebrity team with no substitutes which may well have played a factor in the result, but it was all for a worthy cause.

See Celeb FC for future events.

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World Naked Bike Ride London – Westminster Bridge – 10 June 2017

The World Naked Bike Ride in London is a friendly protest against car culture, pollution and oil dependency, and gives people the chance to prove that the bike is a great alternative mode of transportation for travelling the city. Full or partial nudity is encouraged as well as creative expression, but is not mandatory. The event attracts all shapes and sizes, ages and genders. Groups start at various collection points around the city before converging in Westminster and riding a looped route to finish at the Wellington Arch.

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Demonstration against Tory-DUP Alliance – Westminster, London – 10 June 2017

A demonstration took place in London following news that the Conservative party would be calling on the Democratic Unionist Party to create the required majority in Parliament. Fears that the DUP would be given the chance to promote their extreme views brought out protesters from LGBT and women’s rights groups, with further demonstrators against racism and austerity adding to the numbers. After rallying on Parliament Square many of the protesters marched on Downing Street.

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