More Cheese Rolling Facts and Information
Infamous Coopers Hill - Majestic yet menacing!
and Joshua Kaye with the 3.5kg Double Gloucester
Majestic, yet menacing!
|Probably the most frequently asked
questions are in regard to the Hill and particularly the incline!
Pictures, no matter how good, never show the
reality of the steepness of the hill!
When you stand at the foot of the hill, it towers menacingly above you,
you look up and up to the top, you realise you are looking right up at the
sky! So steep is it, that the rays of the sun rarely fall on the slope
Stand at the top, on the edge of the flat top, and look around you, you
can see for many miles to the mountains in the distance, the view on a
clear day is wonderful! Now look down to your feet, the ground falls right
away from you, one slip and you will fall, now you see far below you, the
finishing line, just before the cottages which from here look so small! It
is terrifying to imagine running down such a slope!
The slope has a gradient that is in places 1-in-2
and in others 1-in-1, its surface is very rough and uneven and it is
almost impossible to remain on foot for the descent.
incurred are usually minor and competitors (particularly the successful
ones) enter again year after year.
Wet conditions are rewarded for the runners by a softer hill surface, with
a reduced prospect of injury, whilst dry conditions make the ground harder
for the fallers.
(During and after the 1939-1945 war)
(Contained a tiny piece of cheese)
|Food rationing was
introduced in 1941 so a wooden ‘cheese’ was used until 1954. It was
covered in paper and was decorated with the familiar red and blue ribbons.
It had a small hole inside the packing where a tiny piece of cheese was
placed, to maintain the ‘rolling of cheese’! Special permission was
granted for this by the Ministry of Food.
The wooden cheese used is
still in existence, ‘retained and preserved’ by a local resident.
In 1954, when food was
de-rationed, real cheeses were once again used.
size of cheese
recorded cheese was presented by the New Zealand Dairy Products Marketing
Commission. In celebration of the return of full size cheeses to the hill.
It was a 40lb New Zealand Cheddar Cheese.
||The cheeses used
today are Double Gloucester cheeses weighing 7 – 8lb.
Presenters, Manufacturers and Suppliers of the Cheeses
cheeses given by Messrs. J.Walter Thompson
supplied by Messrs. Vickers
Caerphilly - supplier unknown
Zealand Cheddar presented by Cheese Bureau
by Messrs. Thurston, Newent
Look (cheese maker) of Shepton Mallet gave one
Double Gloucester, the other cheeses were purchased from Calvers, a
Gloucester cheeses were made and presented by R.N. Look
were made by Mrs. Martell of Dymock
were made by Castle Carey Dairies of Somerset
1988 to the present day
1988, the cheeses have been hand-made by Mrs. Diana Smart of Churcham,
Gloucestershire, using milk from her herd of Brown Swiss, Holstein and Gloucester cows.
is the only person in Gloucestershire now making Double Gloucester cheeses
by hand, using traditional methods.
Double Gloucester Cheese Explained - The Single Gloucester Cheese too!
The Ladies Races
||The earliest recorded
ladies race was won by Jean Smith in 1936. There is no evidence to suggest
that this was the first year for ladies. [If you know of an earlier ladies
winner, please tell us]
There are three recorded, joint ladies champions
with three cheeses each to date.
(Two of her wins were notable for the "Cheeses")
|Winner of 3 Cheeses in the
* 1953 (the prize then was 10/- (50p) because of continuing rationing),
* 1955 (the first year of real cheese once more), (that cheese in 1955 was a 30lb. Cheddar!)
|1953 to 1956
|Winner of 3 Cheeses in the
|1981 to 1983
Auckland, New Zealand
|Winner of 3 Cheeses in the
|2004 to 2006
Master of Ceremonies - Roll of Honour
|The present M.C
office is currently held by Rob Seex, a dairy farmer from Upton St. Leonards
|Period of office
||MCs in the past
have died ‘in office’. Only one was recorded as ‘retiring’. They
are ‘appointed’ CHCRC
Ltd. (probably as being the only person to
agree to do the job!!) There appears to be no ‘job description’!
(Bill) Brookes – lived on Cooper’s Hill - an employee of Midland Railway
Windo and H.Gregory officiated. - Bill Brookes died in October of
Windo – worked at Cooper’s Hill Quarries – last M.C. to wear the
traditional smock as it became irreparable – retired (so
they don’t all have to die in office!) in
(Ted) Millard – farmer living at Well Close Farm – keen cricketer
Bick (in 1978 Arthur Bick was injured falling off a ladder so Bill Cooper
took his place )
Present M.C. Rob
Seex – dairy farmer of Upton-St-Leonards
of the Competitors
||There is a minimum age of 18 years (At
the discretion of the M.C.) to
enter in the downhill events
|Most senior competitor and truly an
all-time champion of the event!
||Believed to be Stephen Gyde (43) from
Brockworth - Competing in the event since 1978 - Last ran in 2006
Stephen is the holder of the record for number of cheeses won - standing at a total
Stephen is also the only competitor to have TWICE, won all three cheeses in
a single year!
(At each of another 5 years, he went away with 2 of the three men's race
Safety Considerations - Injuries to Competitors and
||Inevitably there are injuries to
competitors, the highest toll in recent years was 1997, when at least 33
were injured, resulting in the cancellation of the 1998 event due to
concerns over competitor and spectator safety. (Injuries, are recorded as anything requiring treatment by St John Ambulance, who have to 'log' every single
ailment that comes to them - headaches, splinters etc. and these are all counted in their 'injuries' for the day.
||Spectators too have sustained injuries
whilst attending past events, some have slipped and tripped on the
precipitous hill, sustaining injuries in their falls. Occasionally a wayward
cheese has rolled into the spectators. One year a spectator was caught by
the cheese which sent him tumbling down the hill where he received
treatment from the paramedics.
||Some people win, some merely finish
and many get injured, even the spectators, mostly sprains and minor
injuries, but also broken bones.
For those taking part in this potentially dangerous race, but to the
competitors it seems to be a risk worth taking, as many come back year
after year, some from great distances to win the highly prized cheese.
Each and every individual on the hill, must make their own, personal risk assessment
and consider the dangers. CHCRC Ltd.
strives to provide whatever
safeguards they can, but running down a 1 in 2, in places, 1 in 1 hill,
could never be considered a safe pastime!
in Gloucestershire" Web Site (This Site)
|First created in 1999
||The Cheese Rolling Web Site was first
created in 1999
The mission of the site is to provide information
regarding the event, it's history, results and information on the future events.
Although the event occurs only once a year, the
site is being constantly updated with new content and information.
If you have any information, or photographs of
the earliest events, these would be most welcome and would be considered
for inclusion (with the appropriate credits) in this site.
Please email: cheese-rolling
"Cheese-Rolling in Gloucestershire" web site is privately
funded, is totally independent of and has no connection with CHCRC Ltd. The
site is provided as a public information service for the benefit of the
thousands of fans and competitors of the Cooper's hill Cheese Rolling in
Gloucestershire. Information is also provided for the Media Press and
Broadcasters all of whom are always welcome at the event.
services are provided by Audio Visual
Services (avsglos) of Gloucester, who also sponsor Lushimaging
Rolling Years - (When the public Event Was Cancelled)
Although the Cheese Rolling at Cooper's hill
continued un-interrupted, whatever the weather and even through the war years,
and during times of food rationing during and after the war, there have been
three times in recent years, that the public event has been cancelled due to
causes beyond the control of the (then) organising committee!
police had been very concerned by the number of injuries (most of them
fairly minor) that were reported the previous year.
The announcement of the cancellation was issued to the press on Tuesday 19th.
May, (the week before the Bank holiday) by the Cheese Roll Committee.
widespread outbreak of 'Foot-and-mouth' disease lead to the near 'closure'
of the countryside. The public was advised not to visit rural areas and
even locals were not walking on the hill. It was therefore impossible to
hold the event.
were unavailable at short notice due to an earthquake in Algeria during
May 2003 which required the assistance of the search-and -rescue team.
Without their presence, the St. John team had to withdraw their services
at short notice (3 days!) and the committee was forced once more to cancel
each of these occasions a single cheese has been rolled by the committee,
to maintain the tradition.
enthusiasts took over and produced an unofficial event,)
of the event by the Committee of CHCRC
Ltd, was announced on Friday 12th March, citing the inability to arrange
suitable insurance in the time available since last years event.
time however, things were to be different - It would not be just a private
The hard core of enthusiasts and fans found themselves unable to accept
that the event had been cancelled, for what they considered unacceptable
This time, the enthusiasts took over the event and organised an excellent
program of Cheese Rolling, at the appointed time, on the hill and thus,
they themselves, maintained the unbroken tradition of Cheese Rolling at
And So The Tradition of Cheese
Rolling At Cooper's Hill Continues.
Is 2010 a sign of changing times at the Cheese Rolling?
Will Joshua compete in 2020? We Look
Forward to finding out in the certain knowledge that if he wishes to compete,
the hill and the event? will be there to welcome him.