It may have been a week late - but it was worth waiting for.

Beaulieu's annual pancake race lived up to its reputation as one of the best social events on the village's social calendar.

It is normally held on Shrove Tuesday but this year's event was postponed because last week was half term.

The fun-filled contest is hosted by Beaulieu Village Primary School, which supplies many of the contestants.

Daily Echo: Phil Hutchings won the pancake tossing contest and was presented with a gold frying pan by Lady MontaguPhil Hutchings won the pancake tossing contest and was presented with a gold frying pan by Lady Montagu (Image: Newsquest.)

Compering the event for the first time, Lady Montagu referred to the change of date.

She said: "It's not Shrove Tuesday but last week there was no school, and if there's no school there are no children, and if there are no children there are no pancakes."

Palace House, the Montagu family's ancestral home, provided an impressive backdrop as spectators braved a biting wind to watch the action.

Beaulieu's narrow main street was closed to traffic for more than 40 minutes to enable the event to take place.

Daily Echo: One spectator enjoyed a bird's eye view of the actionOne spectator enjoyed a bird's eye view of the action (Image: Newsquest.)

Children filed out of the school in groups, with each one receiving a cheer as the pupils appeared and took up their positions beside the course.

Contestants clutched child-sized frying pans as they dashed toward the finishing line a few feet from the school gates.

Soon it was time for the pupils to make way for adults taking part in a series of novelty races. The first one was won by the Beaulieu Warblers, who donned fancy dress for the occasion.

One member was dressed as Andy Pandy, one of the best-known characters on children's TV in the early 1960s.

Other teams were entered by the Montagu Arms in Beaulieu and the Master Builder's House Hotel in Buckler's Hard, plus the marketing and IT departments from the Beaulieu Attraction.

One of the contestants took a painful-looking tumble, prompting a groan of sympathy from the crowd, but appeared to be unscathed.

The annual pancake tossing event was won by retired company director Phil Hutchings, 62, of Beaulieu, who flipped his pancake 87 times in a minute - one more than the runner-up.

Just before racing began the event organiser, Jan Hoy, was presented with a bouquet by pupils from the school.