Duxford Soapbox Derby – The History

The greatest and flattest soapbox derby in the world - maybe

The whole point of the derby is to raise awareness and money for Cancer Research UK to help fund vital research.

The first Duxford soap box race was held in 2013 in memory of Phill Hill who sadly passed away from cancer earlier that year. Phill was diagnosed with throat cancer in December 2012 and following laser treatment was on the path to remission. Unfortunately, once clear of throat cancer, in May 2013 Phill was then told he had advanced kidney cancer and sadly passed away in July the same year.

Phill was always into motorbike and Grand Prix racing and so his friends Clive & Helen Bartram came up with the idea of holding the soap box derby as a tribute to him. Clive & Helen have since moved from the area but those involved in the first derby were determined to keep the event going. There were lots of charities who helped Phill but it was felt Cancer Research UK was one which may help beat cancer sooner.

Clive and Helen passed their organising role onto the soap box derby committee and since then the committee has been involved in the organisation of each event. In 2015 Pete Stribling took up the reins and became Chairman of the organising committee, until he passed away suddenly in 2019. Pete loved being an organiser and really enjoyed the build up to race day, although there were quite a few sleepless nights along the way! He will probably be remembered mostly for leading the raffle and auction in the Plough car park and was particularly good at making people part with their money for the auction items.

Pete’s involvement sums up what makes the derby such a fantastic event and while it is an event which belongs to the whole village we can never forget the real meaning of the day and that is raising money for a deserving cause. Cancer impacts so many people and we want the derby to be something that brings people together to celebrate and honour the lives of everyone touched by it.

The Duxford Soapbox Derby fundraisers are hoping to raise significant funds for life-saving research to help more men, women and children in Cambridgeshire and across the UK survive the disease. You can support their fundraising efforts by donating to our giving page or by coming along on the day and cheering on the participants! Maybe you fancy entering a soap box into the race with the hope of claiming the Phill Hill Cup, or you want to volunteer to help make the event a success. However you want to join in we welcome you to Duxford and the greatest and flattest soapbox derby in the world (maybe).