FLIPPIN’ marvellous! That was the verdict of chief co-ordinator David McKown after Sheffield University seized the world record for pancake tossing yesterday – with a little help from 890 volunteers.
They came from far and wide: not just students and staff, but members of the community, hangers-on… and yes, journalists too.
Some were eager to win a place in the Guinness Book of World Records; overseas visitors were curious to discover the what the quirky British tradition was all about; others had reasons of their own.
“Free food was part of the attraction but it was the free frying pan that did it!” admitted student Helen Fraser.
The Big Flip record attempt was the result of weeks of planning by David and his team. The call went out via email, Facbook and Twitter and by Wednesday morning more than 1,300 people had registered to take part.
Sheffield-based Our Cow Molly supplied 41 litres of milk, which was beaten up with 480 free-range eggs, 64kg of wheat flour and 144 litres of water to make the appropriate batter.
Then it was cooked into 1,100 pancakes and distributed to the flippers as they arrived to check in at the Endcliffe student village.
Excitement mounted as the volunteers were herded into their designated enclosures, each with an adjudicator to ensure fair play.
Strict rules had to be observed: every- one must continue flipping for the full 30 seconds and anyone dropping their pancake would be disqualified.
Things got tense as a chill wind got up, threatening to disrupt accuracy. Then we were put under orders by BBC sports presenter Dan Walker, the countdown began… and we were off.
After 30 seconds of frantic flipping, the klaxon sounded and it was all over. But was it enough to break the record?
The answer was a resounding yes. Official Guinness adjudicator Ben Backhouse announced that the previous record of 405, set in the Netherlands, had been well and truly smashed, and the new record was an impressive 890.
The event is expected to raise a considerable sum for local charities ACCT, Paces and Project Buzz. Any unwanted frying pans are being handed over to homeless charity St Vincent’s.