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Cheese-Rolling at Cooper's Hill 2014

The Double Gloucester Cheese, Dressed for the Cheese-Rolling

On Sunday evening a peaceful view of the hill already prepared for Monday's event.

Fences have been carefully removed and set aside.

Undergrowth on the hill has been cut and flattened.

The hill is scanned for stones and other dangerous objects which have been removed.

It has been hard work, but now the hill is ready for the 2014 Cheese-Rolling.

A fine sunny day on Cooper's Hill

Monday dawned sunny and bright on the hill, but by the 12;00 start clouds had filled the sky.
The conditions on the day were ideal, neither too hot or too cold, and no rain!
(The rain of the previous few days provided ideal ground conditions for the event, softening the surface a little, but there was not too much of the muddy conditions which some previous years had suffered.)


Picture Courtesy of Adam Wood

In 2014 the Cheese-Rolling At Copper's Hill Took Place On The Late May Bank Holiday (Monday 26th May 2014) As Usual Commencing At Midday.
Eventual crowd figures were estimated at 5000.

Just after 11:00 and Chris Anderson sits calmly and watches the crowds arriving.
(He knows this hill so very well and many seek his advice before the event.)

Meanwhile just behind him on the plateau, tactics are discussed between prospective competitors.

Looking down, we see the spectators are arriving, it's been a long walk for many from the nearest car parking,
but with the roads closed, safety has been assured for the pedestrians.
The whole area was made a traffic-free zone for the safety of the pedestrians, but most chose to walk the small cross-country footpaths, rather than taking the rather longer walk via the roads (though for some, the road route may well have been quicker as at least one of the footpaths became so congested, walkers made very slow progress.

... and YES, for the benefit for those who have not stood here on the hill, it really is this steep!


Picture Courtesy of Adam Wood

Chris, ever with an eye for safety, constantly paces the hill & clears debris.

Everyone is safely behind the orange tape marking the course.
No need for fences, the simple orange tape is sufficient for the purpose!

The Cheese for the First Race is relayed up the hill to applause from the spectators.
(This year the Cheeses are all real Double Gloucester - Plus an additional Gouda Cheese from Holland.)

It will soon be there!

The spectators are still arriving, filling the hill - only 8 minutes to go to the start.

At the start line, competitors receive last minute advice and instructions from Chris.

Time for last minute (rather large!) refreshments, ready to go!

The Catchers from the Brockworth Rugby Club are ready
Photographers are well behind them in relative safety!

There's a good view also from the lower fields behind the houses at the foot of the hill.
(There's no crush there, but from there they can't see the finish line though.)

Ready, Steady...

The First Men's Downhill Cheese-Race is off to a fast start!

Keeping up with the cheese so far...

At least 5 runners down and only a few meters into the first race...

Flying down... But the guy on the right has problems to solve...

Josh Shepherd on the left - Sure footed and out in front by a long way now...

Josh Shepherd, 19 from Brockworth wins the first Cheese-Race race of the 2014 event!

(Australian Sheldon Ronald took second place and would better this in Race 4 by winning that one.)

The competitor in the orange top was winded but soon recovered and didn't need treatment.

Results for the Mens Downhill Cheese-Race, Race 1
Cheese Roller Tommy Lyons (Brockworth, GLOS)
1st Joshua Shepherd Brockworth, GLOS UK
2nd Sheldon Ronald Melbourne, Australia
3rd Ted Mason Skipton, North Yorkshire

Next race, the Boys (14 and Under) Uphill Race gets off to a spirited start...

Hugh strides from the early leader... But he's soon overtaken...

Pulling away from the rest of the field...

Time for a quick look behind, is anyone there?

What an amazing lead! - This is Kasper Wickens-Shaw 12 from Foston's Ash.

...And of course he takes first place... 

...winning a small Double Gloucester Cheese for his efforts!
(This is the second time that Kasper has won the Boys Uphill Cheese-Race.)

Results for the Boys 14 and under Uphill Race
1st Casper Wickenshaw (12) Foston's Ash Birdlip, GLOS, UK
2nd Casper's Brother!

The excited crowd eagerly awaiting the second downhill race with great relish.

And still the spectators continue to arrive at Cooper's Hill, eventually reaching an estimated 5000 in total.

Competitors for the second race are organised and prepared...

Meanwhile a couple of Canadian girls Anne Marie D'Amico and Stephanie Borg 26 make their way to the start line for the women's downhill race.
After this they will go skydiving in Switzerland in their adventures.

Meanwhile they're off in the Second Mens Downhill Race...

Ryan Fairley is in front of the cheese so far, that's maybe not a good place to be?

Ryan's still on his feet and in the lead... (Ryan 24 is from Brockworth)...

Ryan Fairley (now amongst the catchers) wins the Second Mens Downhill Race, well in front of the rest of the field.

Amongst the rest of the field, a competitor retires with a shoulder injury...

...and after some brief treatment from the on-site medic...

He is carefully assisted from the hill...

...and in the meantime Ryan receives his Double Gloucester Cheese and the attention of the Press.

Results for the Mens Downhill Cheese-Race, Race 2
Cheese Roller Jem Wakeman (Brockworth, GLOS)
1st Ryan Fairley Brockworth, GLOS UK
2nd Johnny Carr Glasgow, Scotland UK
3rd Sandy Brook Salford Greater Manchester, UK

 

And now... An interruption from a police helicopter..

The noise from the circling helicopter briefly stopped the event because the safety announcements and communications from top to bottom of the hill could not be heard until it moved off.

In view of the widely circulated costs of operation of force helicopters (Devon and Cornwall Police state that the all inclusive operational cost is 1700 per hour of flight), it would be interesting to hear from Gloucestershire Police as to the operational reason and their intentions for deploying the craft over a peaceful, well organised and law-abiding gathering. Maybe at the same time they might care to comment on their risk assessment concerning the possibility of the drowning out of ground communications whilst they circled the event for some considerable time.
Maybe also, in view of the recent Glasgow Pub Incident in November 2013, the cause of which is yet to be established, consideration should have been given to over-flying a crown of some 5000 people.
The cause of the crash was a double engine flame-out; the cause of which has not yet been determined.

This un-necessary deployment potentially affected the safety of spectators and competitors at the event by disrupting ground communications!

Once the communications could again be heard on the ground, the event continued with the Girls (14 and under) Uphill Race...

The girl in white on the right got off to a good start, but the one in maroon is coming up fast!

Mollie D'Arcy Rice (From Nailsworth) Pulls ahead, look at that reach!
(Mollie trains at Stroud running club and is the current Gloucestershire cross country champion)

...and Mollie wins, well ahead of the rest...

and bringing up the rear, with a VERY determined look on her face, is this brave entrant...

She is encouraged to keep going right to the top, everyone willing her to get to the top...

and to the applause of the crowd, she arrives at the finish line!

Results for the Girls 14 and under Uphill Race
1st Mollie D'Arcy Rice Stroud, GLOS UK

And so to Race Three, the Women's Downhill Race...

The cheese is ready...

Chris, ever vigilant, checks that the field is clear...

They're off!!!

Lucy Townsend is in the lead again this year... This is the third year running she has led the field!

The rest of the field, more cautious, sliding rather than running...

Lucy Townsend, 17, from Brockworth (Just to the right of number 7), wins again for the third year running.
She joins the previous women in the roll of honor, each having won three cheeses. 

Here is Lucy, pictured in 2013 - She also won in 2012!

Results for the Women's Downhill Cheese-Race, Race 3
Cheese Roller Katie Walden (Brockworth, GLOS) 
Sister of Aaron Walden past multiple winner of the cheese.
1st Lucy Townsend
This is the third consecutive win for Lucy - An equal all-time record
Brockworth, GLOS UK
2nd Lacey Matthews Brockworth, GLOS UK
3rd Anne-Marie D'Amico 26
Next she and fellow Canadian Stephanie Borg will now go skydiving in Switzerland in their quest for adventure
Canada

 

The third and last Uphill Race is the Open Mens / Women's Race...

Off to an even start...

Soon the order is sorted out...

Suddenly there's a leader pulling away from the field...

Here's Spiderman, mid field... Still determined to do his best...

Here, the early leader arrives at the finishing line to receive his Double Gloucester Cheese!

Anne Marie D'Amico and Stephanie Borg 26 make their way to the start line for the women's downhill race - After this they will go skydiving in Switzerland in their adventures.

Here comes the famous Double Gloucester Cheese for the Fourth (Mens) Downhill Race.

...and here, finally and to great applause from the crowd, the last competitor in the open Uphill Race arrives at the finish line.

Results for the Mixed, Open Uphill Cheese-Race
1st Sam Parrant (20) Cooper's Hill, Brockworth

Now the last of the Famous Double Gloucester Cheeses is ready for the Fourth Race...

Time for a last drink, before setting off - 
Note the Guys from Gouda in Holland in the traditional Orange shirts, they have brought their own
Gouda Cheese from the Netherlands to race down the hill in the last free-for-all race following Race 4.

The Cheese Roller prepares to launch the Last Double Gloucester Cheese of the 2014 event.

They're away and running, how long will those glasses stay there?

Still there so far...

Way out in the lead is 20 year old Australian Sheldon Ronald, going well...

Then he trips...

Falls flat on his face... Is it over for him?

No... Not yet anyway - he recovers...

... and even on hands and knees, he still leads by a long way...

He's made it!!!
Sheldon is at the top left of the picture, having crossed the line first to win the Fourth Mens Downhill Race of 2014.
The rest of the field stager to the finish line well behind.

The final competitors cross the line...

Results for the Mens Downhill Cheese-Race, Race 4
Cheese Roller Ryley Bace(4)
 
Son of Chris Anderson (Brockworth, GLOS)
1st Sheldon Ronald Melbourne, Australia
2nd Joshua Shepherd
(Winner of Race 1)
Brockworth, GLOS UK
3rd Liam Bushell Brockworth, GLOS UK

Now the Gouda Cheese is released at the top of the hill - Sorry no pictures of this.

The last (unofficial) mass race takes place involving all those would-be competitors who did not get a place in the main races of the day.

Members of the team from Gouda, who brought the cheese with them are quick to follow in the mass descent of the hill.
(They are dressed in the traditional colour of Orange from the Netherlands - Gouda cheese is also Orange in colour on the outside.)
The Dutch Gouda Cheese actually broke-up near the finish line, they had not anticipated such a demanding slope as Cooper's Hill!

They were inspired to come over and bring the cheese with them after hearing the adverse publicity last year about the police "Warning Off" long-time cheese-maker Diana Smart, 87, who has produced cheese for the event for more than 25 years.
(These reports circulated throughout the press world-wide and there have been many offers to provide cheeses on an anonymous basis, to protect the likes of Diana Smart (and others), just to keep the event and it's long tradition going long into the future.)
(The Dutch Gouda Cheese was shared out and eaten by the gathering crowd at the finish line - Another first for the event!)

The team from the Gouda has received much publicity in the National and International press surrounding their visit to the event at Cooper's Hill in Gloucester - Gloucester is of course twinned with the town of Gouda in Holland, bringing an extra special interest to their visit.

 

Sadly after the main event, just like last year (and pretty much in the same place on the hill) there was an incident where a would be competitor fell when descending the hill and sustained a broken leg...

I am pleased to report that the event medic was with him in under two minutes and he was recovered off the hill by volunteers in under ten minutes - such a contrast from last year when the casualty had to wait 2 hours and 40 minutes to be recovered by the fire, ambulance and police services.
An Ambulance from SWAS was soon on site and he was stabilised and taken to hospital in good time.


Summary of the 2014 Cheese Rolling at Cooper's Hill

In summary the 2014 Cheese-Rolling at Cooper's Hill in Gloucestershire was well organised and effectively controlled and marshaled by the small band of enthusiasts from Brockworth and surrounding area.

The visitors, spectators and competitors, some of whom have traveled very long distances to attend (from Holland, Canada, America, Slovakia, Italy Japan and Australia to name just a few), were well behaved and good natured and I'm everyone had a really good time, the weather was kind for the event, overcast, but neither too hot or cold and even the predicted rain failed to show up! 

There were the usual four downhill races including the women's race, followed by the rolling of the Gouda cheese and a mass descent of the hill as a finale.

Casualties;
The usual scrapes, bumps, grazes and bruises of course as in all years.
Major casualties were a Broken Ankle and a suspected dislocated shoulder and Lacey Matthews, who came 2nd in the Women's race was taken to hospital for check-up on a suspected neck injury, later confirmed as a broken neck, she was later released and says she can't wait for next years Cheese-rolling.

Chris Anderson, now serving in "The Rifles", one of the two largest regiments in the British Army ... was able to attend the Cheese-Rolling this year, he was much in evidence, clearing the hill, advising competitors and informing visitors about the event. He was unable to participate this year due to an ankle injury sustained while serving with the Rifles - Certainly there are those who were glad not to have to compete against him.

The police this year went in for road closures in a big way closing the A46 from the Cross-Hands Roundabout right up to Buckholt road, this made for a safe and pleasant walk along the roads to the event, though it might be said that the associated parking restrictions were a bit too extensive.

There were, as usual, no reported incidents requiring police intervention at or around the event and spectators respected the private properties in the vicinity. 

On a positive note the event was well attended with a large, good humored crowd of spectators who all enjoyed this excellent day out on Cooper's Hill.
The closure of the A46, previously requested but always denied until this year, was excellent and allowed for a carnival atmosphere as people could walk safely along the traffic-free road.

Gloucestershire County Council posted warning notices at the event to ensure that everyone was aware of the potential dangers associated with the event.


Picture Courtesy of Adam Wood

Parking was made available as last year in a field behind the Cross Hands Public house, now the Toby Carvery, in Brockworth, making access for visitors less traumatic.

 


'Can You Give It' - The New Exclusive Music Video Starring Chris Anderson

Winner of Two Cheeses In The 2009 Cheese Rolling At Cooper's Hill

The single from The Maccabees...'Can You Give It' was released on 6th July 2009.

The video is a documentation of tradition that takes place every year in the U.K
and it's a look at one person who takes part in the event and how they get on...
Check out the video and see how he gets on!

A complete list of Holidays and Observances in the United Kingdom are available here:

UK Holidays


Coopers Hill Local Nature Reserve is well worth a visit especially in the springtime.

A local nature reserve, 2 miles south of Brockworth on A46, with nationally important beech woodlands and a waymarked walking trail.

At the top, and again at the bottom of the famous hill, sturdy picket fencing has been erected...

...to prevent access to and erosion of the hill.

 

The view from the top of the Cheese-Rolling hill 

A view from the top of Cooper's Hill in Gloucestershire, where the famous Cheese-Rolling takes place.
This picture is taken from the start point of the race, and the finish is visible below. The actual running surface is concave, and hence cannot be seen from this point.


 

To contact www.cheese-rolling.co.uk (this site) Email info@cheese-rolling.co.uk

 


 

Since 1988, the cheeses have been hand-made by Mrs. Diana Smart of Churcham, using milk from her herd of Brown Swiss, Holstein and Gloucester cows.  
Since 1988, the cheeses have been hand-made by Mrs. Diana Smart of Churcham - She is the only person in Gloucestershire now making Double Gloucester cheeses by hand, using traditional methods.
She is the only person in Gloucestershire now making Double Gloucester cheeses by hand, using traditional methods.

The Double Gloucester Cheese Explained - The Single Gloucester Cheese too!



The festival was originally held at midsummer but was moved at some time to Whitsuntide, taking place on Whit Monday.

In 1967, the Bank Holiday was moved from the Church's Whitsun Festival to become a 'Spring Bank Holiday' to be on the last Monday in May each year.

The 'Cheese Rolling and Wake' was also moved to that day.

Notice on the hill.

 
Webmaster - Last Edited 01-Aug-2014 20:53:34 avsglos

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