HUNDREDS of children got their frying pans at the ready to take part in Ilkley's annual pancake races.

Excited youngsters put their hearts and souls into the event as they ran along the Grove flipping - or dropping - their pancakes as they went.

Schools from in and around Ilkley entered teams for the races on Shrove Tuesday - with about 350 children taking part. And the run was worth the effort as every child was treated to a goody bag at the end, with additional prizes for the winners.

The event attracted a record number of young participants, competing in around 30 races. There were also adult teams competing later in the morning.

But despite the efforts of competitors the turnout among spectators was low, with only a sparse number lining The Grove to give their support.

The event has been run since 2009 and is organised and sponsored by the Rotary Clubs of Ilkley and Ilkley Wharfedale, with commercial sponsors Betty’s Tea Rooms and Cake Shop, Mortens for Hardware and Stray FM, who provide music and commentary throughout the event.

Geoff Maldwyn-Jones, president of the Rotary Club of Ilkley, who has organised the event from 2009, said:

"It's going well. The weather has held off so obviously that is good for us.

"We have a really high number of teams this year with about 350 children. There are eleven teams from the Grammar School."

"It is now our eighth year of doing it. It is Ilkley's second biggest community event and it has just got bigger and bigger."

But he said it would be nice to see more people lining The Grove to give their support to the event which was so well supported by children, and which this year was raising money for the Children's Air Ambulance.

Mr Maldwyn-Jones said: "Hopefully we are going to collect a lot of money."

Despite the small turnout among spectators, those who were there gave the event the thumbs up.

Janet Mearis said: "It seems brilliant. I think it is a really good event and it brings people together."

Jean Varney, who was there with her grandson Jake, said: "We are enjoying it - I just wish there were a few more people supporting it."

One spectator, who did not wish to be named, said: "It is the first time I have been and I am surprised how few people are watching."