A new race for businesses in Chippenham on Pancake Day has awoken a fierce competitive spirit in the town.

Organisers of the annual Pancake Races say there has been a surge of entries this year thanks to sponsorship secured for a business trophy.

More than 10 local businesses are geared up to compete on Shrove Tuesday, March 4, including the sponsors themselves, John Williams Heating Services.

Emma King, tourism manager for Chippenham Town Council, said: “It’s shaping up to be a really good event. We’ve had a really good response this year and the more the merrier.

“It’s made a real difference having the business race, it’s given them something to aim for and there’s a lot of competitive spirit out there."

Competitors the Sahara Sisters are more after a good time than the cup and the belly dancing group will be running with a wiggle and a giggle.

Group leader Rachel Terry said: “We may even add a coin belt and tassels to the frying pans. The teams last year were elbows out at the ready, but we’re just looking to have fun. We have been known to just start dancing if there’s any music going on.

“We want it to be nice and sunny. We don’t look very good with thermal vests underneath the sequins and glitter.“ The races start outside the town hall at 11am, with prizes including engraved frying pans and jars of maple syrup.

internet radio station Chippenham FM.com will provide entertainment and the Autumn Travellers’ Club will be making and selling pancakes in the town hall.

Melody Thompson, director of 24/7 Staffing which is putting forward a team, said: “As a town centre based business we’ve seen the pancake races a few times and wanted to show our support. Events like this help to knit our community together.

“Of course now there is a cup involved we’d love to win, so will have to get some practice in.”

Also competing are children and staff from Happy Days Nursery on Ivy Lane, Rise Trust and Chippenham Childminders, as well as teams from DEVELOP Enhancing Community Support, Sainsbury’s, Emery Gate, Acorn Recruitment and the new High Street card shop Card Bar.

To join in, email info@chippenham.gov.uk, phone (01249) 665970 or call in to the visitor information centre on High Street. Entry is free but participants need to provide their own pancake and frying pan.