DRIVING rain could not deter hundreds from braving the weather this afternoon and cheering on the brightly coloured fancy-dress teams tackling the Beaconsfield stretcher race.

Despite some truly awful conditions, the annual Beaconsfield Country Fayre returned with the ever-popular drinking race taking centre stage.

Crowds lined the streets to support the 14 teams, which included a group of Village People, four grown men dressed as horses and the Jamaican bobsled team.

But it was the Wild Training Trainers that took the crown, with personal trainer Pippa Busby and her fitness team demolishing the course in a near record nine minutes 25 seconds.

Pippa said: “It was great fun, really exciting. The exercise part wasn't too bad, it was the drinking bit that was the hardest!

“It’s a great achievement for us. I’m not sure exactly how close we were to the record, but we'll be back next year to try and beat it.”

The tradition, which dates back to 1978, sees teams carry a nominated ‘casualty’ on a stretcher through the old town streets, stopping off at seven pub stops along the route for a swift half pint.

Second place belonged to team Meatman, with Wild Training’s second entry taking third place on the podium.

And returning for a fifth consecutive year, 26-year-old Tom Baxter and friends took the fancy-dress prize for the second time, this year entering as half man/half horse combination Neigh Chance.

Team captain Tom, who helped his team to fifth overall, said: “It was my idea to enter first time and it always ends up with me organising it and buying the outfits.

“With the rain it was pretty difficult to hold on to the stretcher and not drop it! It’s the first time though, the last five years have been brilliant sunshine.”

Organisers praised the people of Beaconsfield for coming out in the heavy rain to enjoy the County Fayre, which is now in its eight year.

TV star and resident Mary Berry arrived to kick off proceedings, opening the fayre in the morning with mayor Steve Jones as the rain set in.

An estimated 1000 people descended on the streets around Windsor End for the attractions, including a dog show, classic cars, a plethora of food stalls and the ever-present beer tent.

In the last seven years, the fayre has raised over £100,000 for a range of local charities, including Iain Rennie Hospice at Home.

John Read, chairman of Beaconsfield Round Table, which helps organise the event, said: “Obviously the weather wasn’t on our side although the people of Beaconsfield showed their community spirit by coming out to support.

“It was a great day, and brilliant that we had Mary Berry and the mayor to open the fayre. A huge thank you to all the people who came out and helped us raise money for lots of good charities.”