Facts 2011 - The Complete Story
- The Last Official Event
Organization of the event up to the disbanding of the organizing
committee of the Cheese Rolling at Cooper's Hill the Spring of 2011
the 2009 Police report that an estimated 15,000 people were trying
to get to the event, it was clear that things would have to change.
is estimated that the hill can only accommodate about 5000 & a
report for the HSE confirmed this was the estimated number attending
at Cooper's hill.
2009 a report was prepared for the Health & Safety Executive by
Professor Chris Kemp Teresa Moore of the Buckinghamshire New
University entitled "A
Review of the management of crowd safety at outdoor street/special
events" containing a
study of the organization and running of the Cheese-Rolling at
report praised the organisation of the Cheese Rolling at Coopers Hill.
Special mention was made, regarding the
important advice given to the public at in general by this web site
(www.cheese-rolling.co.uk), information that was not made available in
concise form elsewhere, specifically relating to the unique
circumstances surrounding this event and the location at Cooper's
report confirmed that the estimated number of people attending the
event was 5000, the hill being full to capacity.
The organisation and events prior and
leading to the final cancellation in 2011.
Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake’ has always been organized
and run by a group of volunteers, most of whom live on the Hill.
tasks have been:
the slope (cutting back new growth, removing hazards etc.) over
fencing (orange sheep-fencing for crowd safety and ‘Heras’
fencing to protect properties) and erecting it all
St. John Ambulance personnel (whose services are absolutely
essential for the event)
with SARAID (the rescue team necessary for retrieving casualties
from the slope)
a security company (to act as marshals for public safety)
insurance (for ‘Public Liability’, not runners)
and printing certificates and programmes
and managing car-parking (until very recently providing the only
countless TV, video and radio interviews
latter years, providing Media Passes (another help for the income
and to control the huge numbers who want access both to organizers
through the preceding week and to priority ‘spots’ on the
slope on the day)
and manning a PA system
a group of volunteer ‘catchers’ (to catch runners at the foot
of the hill)
After 2009, the small group of volunteers, who formed the organizing
committee, was faced with various demands from the insurance company,
police and local authorities.
insurance company required a ‘defined area’ for the attending
public to validate any insurance.
local authority and police required a traffic and parking plan, to
control the number of vehicles arriving.
Authorities concern over the increasing numbers of visitors.
‘Public Liability’ cover:
public viewing area was ‘a disaster waiting to happen’! There
would have to be a ‘defined, fenced area’ which would control
the number of people on the hill
huge amount of fencing would be needed, and professionally erected
would have to be designated entrances to enable the numbers to be
controlled, so the event
would have to become ‘ticketed’
local authority and police required a ‘Traffic Plan’ involving
road closures and traffic control
local authorities expressed their concern about the safety of the huge
crowds that were attending
meetings were held with all interested parties to try to find a way
forward but unfortunately there was not time to sort things out for
2010, so the official event for that year was cancelled.
it was decided that professional help was needed. Until then, the only
income had been from the £5-per-car car park, and more recently media
pass charges, and what was now needed was going to cost a great deal
‘Events Management’ company was consulted
‘Marketing’ company was also called upon to help raise
local authority was asked to draw up a ‘Traffic Plan’
the number of people coming had to be controlled, and so it was
proposed that the event should be spread over a whole week-end, with
the traditional races being held on Saturday morning and afternoon,
and again on Sunday. This would mean possibly 20 races in all.
‘defined’ area and entrances required would need a huge amount of
fencing and marshalling, so it would also be necessary to make it a
‘ticketed’ event, with tickets available in advance.
fields would be provided for parking.
proposed to change the date of the event from the ‘Spring Bank
Holiday’ to the original Whitsun weekend. This could have reduced
costs of policing and any other manpower, by avoiding the Bank
plans were for over-night camping, a mini ‘folk’ style festival,
activities for children and a revival of some of the ancient
would be catering facilities provided as well as stalls and other
would help towards the enormous costs now involved.
sponsorship had been promised, from local businesses as well as
following public consultation, the volunteers were suddenly faced with
local opposition to the plans.
residents were unhappy with what had been suggested and strongly
opposed the camping as well as the mini-festival and the catering
‘scaled-down’ event was proposed; no camping, no mini-festival and
result, there would have to be a charge of £20 for each person
attending, although children would be free. It was also hoped that a
number of free tickets would be available for local people.
public outcry that followed was understandable. An event that local
people had been coming to for generations was now going to be out of
reach for many.
were threats and abuse towards the volunteer organizers, who really
weren’t happy to make any charge.
sadly, and with very great regret, the people who had worked for so
many years to keep the ‘Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake’
going decided to withdraw from the organization of the ancient event
and are no longer involved.