Despite the annual the Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake event in Gloucestershire was cancelled for the second year running due to safety issues and spectators’ fury at being charged a £20 entry fee, rebel cheese rollers defied the weather to take part in a traditional race down a steep hill to catch a 8lb Double Gloucester.
Hardcore thrill seekers staged their own unofficial event as they organised on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
There was a large police presence at entrances to Cooper’s Hill, at Brockworth, but the event went ahead. Also, believe it or not, this year there were no reported injuries!
This year champion local cheese roller, Chris Anderson, 23, won all three adult male races, while the 14-year-old Jo Guest, from Wolverhampton, came out on top in the women’s race.
The unusual event has been celebrated for centuries and is thought to have its roots in a heathen festival to celebrate the return of spring.
The last time the official cheese rolling was staged was in 2009 with the injury toll of 18 described as ‘low’ by St John Ambulance (ten of the wounded were spectators).
The venue was designed to cope with just 5,000, so last year’s event was called off over health and safety and traffic congestion fears.
Thanks to Cheese Rolling
Little something about event:
From the top of the hill a round of Double Gloucester cheese is rolled, and competitors race down the hill after it. The first person over the finish line at the bottom of the hill wins the cheese.
In theory, competitors are aiming to catch the cheese, however it has around a one second head start and can reach speeds up to 70 mph (112 km/h), enough to knock over and injure a spectator.
Accurate information is hard to come by, but the tradition is at least 200 years old. Each year the event becomes more and more popular with contestants coming from all across the world to compete or even simply to spectate.
he cheese used in the event is Double Gloucester, a hard cheese typically manufactured in cylindrical blocks.