Huge crowds headed to Cartmel Racecourse over the spring bank holiday weekend in May 1996 to enjoy all the excitement of steeplechase racing – and plenty more besides.

Whether their interest was in studying the form guide while sipping a cool Pimms or enjoying the hurly-burly of fairground rides with a stick of candy floss, there was plenty to keep the whole family entertained.

A crowd of 8,600 turned out in brilliant sunshine to soak up the special atmosphere on the first day of racing on the Saturday.

The Westmorland Gazette:

The course grandstand remained packed throughout the afternoon while beer hall tents and hospitality suites also did a roaring trade.

And ticktack men and women were kept on their toes by punters who wanted to have a flutter.

Former England footballing star and keen race-goer Emlyn Hughes summed up why the event was so special to him.

“There’s just such a unique atmosphere to Cartmel,” he said.

The Westmorland Gazette:

“The place has got a wonderful history and it’s in a beautiful setting. It’s just a great family day out.”

Bookmaker Frank Robinson, a veteran of 23 Cartmel Bank Holiday meetings, agreed.

“I can understand why so many people come here each year,” he said.

"There’s always a very good crowd.”

Barrow punter Ken Banks had a successful day, backing three winners from the six races.

The Westmorland Gazette:

“I’m a member of the Cartmel club and come here every year,” he said.

Event organiser Davy Pain, chairman of Cartmel Steeplechases Ltd, said: “We’ve just had an irrigation system installed so the course is in tremendous condition.

“Our next plan is to get large video screens set up and we also want to put up some more permanent buildings.

The Westmorland Gazette:

Unfortunately, we have to put up lots of tents at the moment, which involves a lot of organisation.

“But we always seem to be lucky with the weather and I think we’re able to provide something for everyone here

“That’s why people keep coming back year after year.”