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Last Updated:  Sunday, 16 March, 2003, 17:46 GMT
New 'pooh-sticks' World Champion
A.A. Milne standing on the original pooh-sticks bridge in Ashdown Forest
A.A.Milne standing on the original Pooh sticks bridge
The 19th annual World Championship Pooh-sticks race has taken place in Oxfordshire.

Between 1,500 and 2,000 turned out to watch and take part in the event, based on A.A. Milne's tales about Winnie the Pooh and friends.

Local girl Becky Aran, 10, from Wantage, took away the first prize of a gold medal and a Winnie the Pooh teddy bear in the individual competition.

In keeping with recent sporting events, the Australians beat the English to first place in the team competition.

I didn't see a sorry face all day - everyone was smiling and having fun
David Caswell, organiser
Two US teams also competed but failed to win a medal.

Silver and bronze winners in the individual event were Kate Fuzi, 12, from Didcot, and adult Yvonne Cowly, from London, N15.

The championship, known across the globe, involves dropping a stick from a bridge over a river and seeing how fast it travels to cross a finishing line.

David Caswell, who organised the races at Long Wittenham Lock, said: " I didn't see a sorry face all day.

"Everyone was smiling and having fun.

Of the Australian victory, he said: "They deserved it quite frankly.

"They turned up in the spirit of the day, with their flags and broad-rimmed hats," he said.

Money raised

"We don't know how much money we have raised yet but we think it is somewhere in the region of 1,200 to 1,300.

About 600 contestants pay 1 per pooh-stick to take part.

All proceeds go to charity, including the Royal National Lifeboat Institute.

However, the Oxfordshire lock is not the original Pooh-sticks bridge where Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin played in the books.

The game all started in Ashdown Forest, a mile from Hartfield in East Sussex.




SEE ALSO:
Disney loses $1bn Pooh appeal
21 Feb 03 |  Business
Christopher Robin footage found
26 Nov 01 |  Entertainment



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