A MAJOR attraction that has raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity has been saved and will continue in 2014.

It had looked like the end of the road for the Richards Castle soap box derby.

A desperate appeal was launched to find a new group of volunteers to oversee the event that sees amateur engineers from all over the country pit their vehicles against each other.

The Richards Castle’s community run Soap Box Derby has been saved following the plea for help.

The event which has raised a phenomenal £60,000 over the past 10 years for local charities was in doubt following a shortage of volunteers and resources to continue to stage it going into its 11th year.

“A big thank you goes out to the tremendous response from the village, race competitors and media who have shown enthusiasm and keenness to see Richard’s Castle’s Soap Box Derby continue into 2014 and beyond,” said organising committee chairman Humphrey Salwey.

The annual event attracts scores of competitors who descend down a track on Hanway Common in custom built karts powered by gravity, from slimline racing cars to themed karts featuring anything from Marge Simpson to a dalek.

As well as the racing, the event has developed into a family fun day offering entertainment from the racing's themed karts to attractions aimed at children and a range of food and drink on offer.

“With new volunteers on board, plus a number of our regular stalwarts, the event will now go ahead on Sunday July 13," added Humphrey Salwey.

"It is hoped the new faces to the event will bring fresh ideas and bags of enthusiasm to lift the derby and sustain its future."

The news of the Soap Box Derby continuing in 2014 means more local charities will benefit.

Each year a theme is chosen by the committee and for the 11th year of the event a group of local charities under the umbrella of ‘carers’ will benefit.

In 2013 a scorching hot day and dare devil antics raised £8,000 at the soapbox derby.

The event at Hanley Common made more money than it ever has done in its 10 year history.

The derby was extended to include an aerial stunt display, a vintage tractor run, lawnmower racing and displays of classic cars and vintage machinery.

But as usual the stars of the event were the soap boxes that raced down hill proving that British ‘garden shed’ engineering is alive and well and that risking a few bumps and scrapes has not been completely ruled out by the ‘health and safety’ police.

The money was handed over to good causes including the Herefordshire branch of the bereavement support charity CRUSE and the Ludlow Community First Responders.

There were also donations to the Richards Castle defibrillator project, the local village hall, the air cadets and the Women’s Institute who passed their donation to the ‘Ludlow Cares’ homeless initiative.

For further information about the event and if you fancy entering a kart visit www.richardscastlesoapbox.co.uk