Knaresborough Bed Race: Wet, exhausted and proud... our heroes raise thousands for charity

The cheers of thousands echoed across Knaresborough as bed racers tore across the River Nidd after a community united to promote the town and charity.

Knaresborough Bed race: Complete list of finishers, times and prize winners

More than 30,000 are believed to have filled Knaresborough for the 53rd Great Knaresborough Bed Race on Saturday.

From the castle grounds, for the judging of the Best Dressed Bed, to Conygham Hall visitors and residents alike followed the great procession of beds, led by the music of groups including the bagpipes of the City of Leeds Pipe Band, alongside belly dancers and other performance groups.

The day might be one of the best in the events history, say organisers the Knaresborough Lions.

Nigel Perry said: "It has been a great day, we have just finished up and we had sunshine through midday and it stayed dry, which I think helped draw out the crowds too.

It is thought that a record 34,000 people turned out on the streets of Knaresborough for the bed race on Saturday.

It is thought that a record 34,000 people turned out on the streets of Knaresborough for the bed race on Saturday.

Bed Race: Pictures, video and latest news as thousands flock to the streets of Knaresborough

"A lot of us don't believe we have seen so many people at the race. In the past, across the whole town we have seen 30,000 and we think this is over that figure, and we hope so too.

"The bed race to Knaresborough is like rain to Manchester, people associate it with the town now. We always knew this was the case with North Yorkshire, but more and more people are coming from outside the area.

"Its an important day for Knaresborough as it tells people about the town, that it is a beautiful and scenic town. People come back and its a boost for tourism and business, and will be all year around.

The moment Yorkshire police officer catches the community mood just right by starting his own Twitter 'Floss-off'

"With the numbers we are looking at and the happiness of the crowd, which is a wonderful feeling to pick up on, I think for me this might the best year yet since I became involved with the Lions in 2004."

Following this years theme of a night at the theatre, the town was filled with spectacular displays and riders draped in their take on shows ranging from School of Rock to Alladin.

The reach of the bed race could be seen with the display of American employees at RAF Menwith Hill with, a float pushed by five Alexander Hamiltons and rode by a young king, many of them doing it for the first time after watching the race last year.

Mark McCullik said: "We just thought we need to do this, I am from California and haven't seen anything like this. It is really unique and so much fun to be a part of, and its great to see the community come together and sweet that it all helps charity."

For sale: Award-winning barn complete with 1,000 pipe organ could be yours for £775,000

While the bars, restaurants and pubs filled up across the town, a huge crowd found its way to Conygham Hall to enjoy the enormous number of rides, food and drink stands alongside the main stage where live music filled the air.

The countdown at 3pm was briefly held up before the first teams began rocketing up the fields at the hall, snaking along Waterside and slogging up the steep roads of the town.

Eventually making their to the river banking opposite the hall the teams plunged into the cool waters of the Nidd before crossing the finish line to the roaring crowd awaiting their return.