Scarborough boasts one of the quirkiest Boxing Day celebrations in the UK, featuring a comic football match, a crazy raft race and a mile of pennies.
Said to be Scarborough’s oldest surviving custom, the Fishermen & Firemen’s Charity Football Match (aka the Comic Football Match) takes place at South Bay Beach. It has been played annually since 1893 to raise money for the Fishermen & Firemen’s Charity Fund, providing help for the elderly and infirm during the winter months.
It was originally started to help the widows and orphans of five Scarborough fishermen drowned at sea aboard the Evelyn and Maud. In 1893 huge storms raged on the North East coast and sadly the Evelyn and Maud never returned to port. With so many of the community widowed and orphaned by this tragic event, the Mayor set up a fund to help them.
The game itself is a somewhat shambolic and light-hearted one, which is why it is known as the Comic Football Match. The players wear either red for firemen or white for fishermen, and top hats. The only rule is that if your top hat falls off a free kick is awarded to the opposing team. The players tend to be a tad merry, as they make a tour of the houses and pubs in the old town for ‘refreshments’ before the game. As a result, the teams usually forget the score at the final whistle.
This year’s charity match will kick off at 10.30am, with tunes from the Comic Band as the players parade onto the beach.
Following the match, at 12.30pm, the Crazy Raft Race will take place with a grand paddle off in the harbour.
There will also be a mile of pennies starting from the Lifeboat House, lined up along the seafront kerb. Head along and add yours to the impressive line up!
When: 26th December 2019, from 10am
Where: South Bay Beach, Scarborough, North Yorkshire
£: Free to watch but donations towards the Fishermen & Firemen’s Charity Fund are welcome
More info: www.facebook.com/boxingdayscarborough