Last Year

The annual Cheese-Rolling Festival at Cooper's Hill in Gloucestershire, took place, as usual at 12:00 midday on the Late Spring Bank Holiday Monday*.

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.

Cheese-Rolling at Cooper's Hill 2013

The Double Gloucester Cheese, Dressed for the Cheese-Rolling

A fine sunny day on Cooper's Hill


Picture Courtesy of Adam Wood

In 2013 the Cheese-Rolling At Copper's Hill Took Place On The Late May Bank Holiday (Monday 27th May 2013) As Usual Commencing At Midday.

The Banner Reads "Brockworth Thanks You"

[For supporting the event with your presence]

An estimated crowd of up to 5000 people attended this year, interest being heightened by recent press reports which have spread worldwide.

2013 Cheese-Rolling Videos

Complete Coverage Courtesy of SoGlos.com

Kenny Rackers in the first race & the senior Uphill Race

Coverage of the Cheese-Rolling By Cipiripilata

Look Out For Footloose In The Cotswolds

The day was sunny and warm but windy.

Spectators and competitors gather early at the start...

... 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

There were the usual four downhill races including the women's race, followed by one, disastrous "Non-Cheese" race.
Chris Anderson, now serving in "The Rifles", one of the two largest regiments in the British Army ... was unable to attend this year, he will have been disappointed, but other competitors may well have been relieved not to have to compete against him.

Due to warnings from the police, that have received much publicity around the world, directed to anyone who could be identified as being "connected" in some way with the Cheese Rolling, a substitute, plastic cheese was used this year, so a real cheese was not in fact rolled*.
This did not seem to matter to either contestants or spectators, but it was a failure as it just did not have the weight to roll properly! In the ladies race, one lady (not the winner) picked it up and carried it down to the finish line.

*Upon careful analysis of the movement of the cheese in the videos of the events, it appears that the "cheese" in the first event was significantly heaver than the ones used in subsequent races, it was the only "fast cheese" of the day, it also bounced a lot higher. There is a strong suspicion that this was a "real Cheese", the ones in the remaining races were made of foam plastic and were much slower, in most cases being passed by the contestants.

Police were in attendance in force, 4 police vehicles were deployed on the A46 at the intersection with Nuthill and the road up to Cooper's Hill was closed to all but residents vehicles.

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.


Picture Courtesy of Adam Wood

The First race was won by Kenny Rackers, a USA Army Veteran from Colorado Springs, Colorado USA, who had traveled over 4000 miles from the 'States just to take part this year.

Kenny appears to be taking advice from a Panda, prior to setting off!


Picture Courtesy of Davide Ventola

There's Kenny in the centre of the picture, way ahead, the cheese can be seen bottom left of the picture!

The advice must have worked, he's won the first race!

Simon Jeffreys 29 from Swansea came 3rd in the 1st race (In the yellow top at the start line and centre of the picture below, doing really well).


Picture Courtesy of Davide Ventola

(Thanks to David Stein (brother-in-law) for the information!)

Just time to wave to the police helicopter before Race 2 (Bit expensive that?)
Still... an excellent viewpoint for taking pictures of the organisers and spectators.
(So... just what was the justification for using this expensive resource at a peaceful and law abiding event?)

[Just as well SBS TV from South Korea dropped their intention to film from an Octocopter drone, as
the downwash from the "chopper" would surely have downed the lightweight craft and endangered the spectators]

And so, on to Race Two

That new, substitute plastic cheese is rubbish, it does not roll properly!

A runner disappears in a cloud of dust - It's usually muddy here.

Race Two was won by Caleb Stalder from Taree, New South Wales Australia.

Third place went to local runner, Ryan  Fairley.

Medical cover is on hand and alert to her surroundings, she'll be needed soon for some real injury!

Now it's the turn of the women to show how it's done

Just look at that fake cheese

They easily catch and then overtake it

Here's Lucy Townsend in her headlong dash past the "cheese"

She's well ahead now!

... and look her fellow runner has picked up that feeble cheese to ensure it gets to the finish line

 The Ladies Race was won by 16 year old Lucy Townsend from Brockworth 

(She won the women's Race in 2012 too!)

Lucy says she does not like cheese and so she has put it up on eBay for the highest bidder to win and enjoy:
Bid now for Lucy's winning Double Gloucester Cheese - that's 8lb of Real Cheese just as it was presented to her on Monday.
Update... 6th June 2013 - Highest bid was £21, this did not reach the reserve price and so the cheese was not sold at this time! 

In a change from tradition there were two uphill races, one for children... 

The winner arrives!

...and the other for senior competitors

Is that the Stars and Stripes of Kenny Rackers on the far side?

Yes... there he goes... and FAST too!

Almost at the finish line, he even paused to don a hat... 

 

before flinging it aside to his left...

Maybe someone else will want it to shelter from the hot sun

Here's the rest of the field, way behind Kenny.

Kenny's there, looking fresh to greet them!

All that training has been worth the effort! See Videos

Time for some filming to get the atmosphere, facing the finish line, they need to move soon, it's not finished!

Its' causing serious interest from the spectators though

It's a great sunny day!

And so on to Race four...

They're off!

Mind you don't trip over that fake cheese!

Ryan Fairley, 23, from Brockworth, won the third men's race – the first time he has claimed a cheese...

Did he trip over the cheese?

Here's help on the way at speed.

Help's here - Dislocated Shoulder is not too bad!

With a little treatment and many pairs of helping hands he's on his way!

At this point we normally see a number of "Non Cheese" Races, competitors running down just for the fun of it!

This year, tragically, will be different... There will only be one "Non Cheese Race"!

The Competitors wait patiently for the start, unaware of what is about to happen...

The catchers are ready...

They're off...
The fourth men's race will be won by Tomoaki Tanaka, 39, from Japan, who dressed as a ninja to race down the hill...
 
However... The man in the red shirt on the extreme right in this photo will not cross the finish line for almost three hours!!!

He stumbled on the way down, near the top of the hill, crossing to the opposite side presumably to bet a better line to race down.

Now he's down and in need of help and he's a long way from home in Spain

The leg is obviously broken, just look at the way the foot is facing... that's not normal!

When help first arrived, he said he felt no pain at that point, that was about to change...

This was only one significant injury, a broken leg in the last race, 

this resulted in the attendance of a significant number of paramedics

First the event first aider

It's a hard climb from the finish line at the foot of the hill...

...there at last...

... seems to take ages, but it's only been one minute so far...

Then paramedics from the first SWAS Response Vehicle arrive... after only 21 minutes...

The police rush to find out what's happened? 51  minutes into the incident...

The casualty is surrounded by medics and helpers forming a safety cordon

More SWAS Paramedics arrive... 56 minutes into the incident...

More Police - They seem more interested in the finish line below...

A few people are stupid enough to still run the course while the patient is being treated and vulnerable...

The first member of the fire and rescue service arrives to make an initial assessment...

It's now one hour and 24 minutes since the start of the incident...
The Fire Officer in charge (to the left without a helmet) has arrived to take charge and plan the rescue...

More firemen arrive (yellow helmets)...

Now more fire & rescue specialist personnel arrive with ropes and mountain rescue gear.

It's now 2 hours into the incident...

Plans are put in place for evacuation on a rigid stretcher with the aid of ropes anchored to the hill...

These specialist guys are really quick, obviously well trained in this type of rescue...

The patient is lifted onto a rigid stretcher and strapped safely in...

The difficult descent commences, we are now two and a half hours in...

Rescuers walk slowly backwards, down the difficult slope, restrained by ropes from above the incident site.

A couple of times the stretcher jerks on the ropes and the casualty is heard to cry out in pain...
In spite of the medication, he feels every jolt, the adrenalin is wearing off by now!

And now the final steps before detaching the ropes and carrying him on the recovery stretcher to the waiting ambulance which will convey him to hospital in Gloucester where he will spend several days being treated and recovering from his ordeal.

Time for the fire service to clear up, making sure they remove all the metal spikes they hammered into the hill to attach ropes, otherwise there may be another casualty.

Not much for the police to do but hang around, at least it's a sunny day - no crime here, as usual.

The clearing up continued, few spectators remain on the hill, but one young lad has a last run, whether on purpose, or by accident, crossing the triple ropes between the two upper groups of fire service personnel...

He soon finds himself receiving some strong "advice" from the police...

...this included the advice that it was lucky for him that there were so many camera crews around!
[whatever that means?]

The lad immediately apologised, saying he was very sorry for his action, but the apology was dismissed by the police officer!

...following incident this he (the lad) was verbally abused (using an "F" word) by a member of the fire service (without a helmet) who was obviously very angry, he was led away back to their Fire Tender vehicle by colleagues, leaving a shocked looking man, still on the ground.
Sadly a very sour note on which to close the day - we all expect better of those who's job it is to serve the public.
Apparently the only incident receiving the "attention" of the police, unless someone knows better?

Locals continued to clear-up the area, not a bit of litter, however small, is left to spoil this lovely area.
Their attention to detail is excellent, as was their organisation of the event.
Un-named and wishing to remain un-identified, these locals have done an excellent job of keeping the tradition of Cheese-Rolling at Cooper's Hill alive.

... and there it is, the hill turns back to nature to await 2014, just a few locals still enjoying this beautiful spring day.

The 2013 event is over, now the event needs some new sponsors to organise the 2014 event on a professional, free to attend INSURED event basis. 
RedBull would be an obvious contender with their vast experience in large outdoor events, anyone want to petition them?

So, in the end this incident involved a medic who was on-site at the ready, a number of Paramedics from SWAS, several waves of Firemen, a specialist Fire Brigade Rescue Support Team, and finally a large police presence.
At one point there were fourteen emergency vehicles packed into the small lane.


Picture Courtesy of Davide Ventola
(At 13:57 Police vehicles block the only access road for Rescue and Medical service vehicles (which had yet to arrive) to gain entry to the site - Why was this? - No offences had been or were likely to be committed. 
Earlier police had been out in force to ensure that no vehicles could use the road as it is narrow and there are few passing or turning places, rightfully keeping access clear for the very emergency vehicles that they were now impeding.)

It had taken over 2 hours and 40 minutes for the casualty to be initially treated and stabilised then recovered from the hill before being sent off to hospital in Gloucester, well outside "The Golden Hour".

An interesting comparison, is that in 2009, a similar event occurred when a spectator fell out of a tree and had to be recovered and stretchered off with suspected fractures & spinal injuries.
That took just 29 minutes by volunteer services (S.A.R.A.I.D and St John Ambulance), who were already in place on the hill in case of incident, compared with this years 156 minutes utilising the various professional services who were called in bit by bit as needed.
There is something VERY WRONG here
!

In the weeks running up to the event, and receiving much publicity for their efforts, the police were warning that anyone remotely connected (in their opinion) with the running of the event, "that individual or group of persons could attract legal liability issues that go with hosting such an event [the Cheese-Rolling at Cooper's hill]" -  these warnings were given, amongst others, to the makers of the Double Gloucester Cheeses, traditionally used at the event (SMART'S Farm) and to the owner of this web site (although the web site is not connected with the organisation or running of the event). It is not known if these warnings were extended to other news media in an attempt to suppress reporting of the event.

 As webmaster, I was requested not to announce the date and time of the event - somewhat useless restriction as the information was widespread in the national news media and on the web.

From the start of the event the police kept surveillance on the by helicopter which hovered and circled above and which at times actually caused problems with communication between top and bottom of the hill and with instructions shouted to the spectators who, at times could not hear over the noise of the helicopter. 

At least the occupants were assured a good view of the crowds of spectators and organisers waving at them!

One would be runner received a stern warning from the police... ending with;

"It's lucky for you there are so many cameras around"

He was then verbally abused by a fireman who swore at him! ... adding "I have children at home".

He had run down after the casualty had been recovered from the hill, stumbled and almost collided with a fireman.

He immediately apologised for his action but the apology was dismissed!

 

Emergency recovery and treatment was administered more swiftly in the past, up to 2009, when St john Ambulance were in attendance, in number and with their own ambulances. In those days S.A.R.A.I.D. (Search and rescue assistance in disasters) were always on hand and deployed on the hill in readiness before the event would start. It was exactly two hours from the time of injury until the fire service deployed crew with ropes and climbing gear in order to start to plan a recovery. It then took a further 40 minutes to get the casualty into an ambulance.

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.

A number of cars were observed to have been parked on the A46 neat cooper's hill, curiously these did not appear to have fixed penalty notices attached as they would have in previous years.


The following chronicles events leading up to the 2013 event.

No Cheese for the Cheese-Rolling?

Cheese rolling gran in police Double Gloucester ban (Gloucester Citizen) 

"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." - Maybe this is the answer?

'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!

Gloucester 5-Day Weather Forecast (UK Met Office).

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

UK Holidays

 

 

 

 

 


The age old tradition of Cheese Rolling at Cooper's Hill in Gloucestershire

In 2013 the tradition of Cheese Rolling at Cooper's Hill 
continued unbroken arranged by local enthusiasts
, nobody seemed to care it was a sponge (cheese) this year
.

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.


The Facts 2011 - The Complete Story

2009 - The Last "Official" Event

The Organization of the event up to the disbanding of the organizing committee of the Cheese Rolling at Cooper's Hill the Spring of 2011

Following 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.

It 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 in 2009.

In 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 Cooper's Hill.

This 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 Hill.

This 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.

‘The 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.

Their tasks have been:

  • Clearing the slope (cutting back new growth, removing hazards etc.) over several week-ends
  • Procuring fencing (orange sheep-fencing for crowd safety and ‘Heras’ fencing to protect properties) and erecting it all
  • Employing St. John Ambulance personnel (whose services are absolutely essential for the event)
  • Liaising with SARAID (the rescue team necessary for retrieving casualties from the slope)
  • Employing a security company (to act as marshals for public safety)
  • Arranging insurance (for ‘Public Liability’, not runners)
  • Buying cheeses
  • Inviting guest ‘Rollers’
  • Producing and printing certificates and programmes
  • Arranging and managing car-parking (until very recently providing the only income)
  • Holding countless TV, video and radio interviews
  • In 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)
  • Hiring and manning a PA system
  • Organising 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.

  1. The insurance company required a ‘defined area’ for the attending public to validate any insurance.
  2. The local authority and police required a traffic and parking plan, to control the number of vehicles arriving.
  3. Local Authorities concern over the increasing numbers of visitors.
  1. Insurance

For ‘Public Liability’ cover:

  •  The 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
  • A huge amount of fencing would be needed, and professionally erected
  • There would have to be designated entrances to enable the numbers to be controlled, so the  event would have to become ‘ticketed’
  1. Traffic

The local authority and police required a ‘Traffic Plan’ involving road closures and traffic control

  1. Local Authorities

Various local authorities expressed their concern about the safety of the huge crowds that were attending  

Several 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.

 Reluctantly, 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 more. 

  • An ‘Events Management’ company was consulted
  • A ‘Marketing’ company was also called upon to help raise sponsorship.
  • The local authority was asked to draw up a ‘Traffic Plan’

Somehow, 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.

The ‘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.

Extra fields would be provided for parking.

It was 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 Holiday.

Suggested plans were for over-night camping, a mini ‘folk’ style festival, activities for children and a revival of some of the ancient ‘Wake’ activities.

There would be catering facilities provided as well as stalls and other attractions.

All this would help towards the enormous costs now involved.

Some sponsorship had been promised, from local businesses as well as National Companies.

Unfortunately, following public consultation, the volunteers were suddenly faced with local opposition to the plans.

Some residents were unhappy with what had been suggested and strongly opposed the camping as well as the mini-festival and the catering plans.

So a ‘scaled-down’ event was proposed; no camping, no mini-festival and no catering.

As a 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.

The 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. 

There were threats and abuse towards the volunteer organizers, who really weren’t happy to make any charge.

So 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.

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!


Car Park Location - Car Parking is no longer available at the event
(O.S. SO888147)
(N51:49:51 - W2:09:50)
(UK Postcode GL3 4SB)

 A total of 93 Penalty Charge Notices were issued on the 25th May 2009 in the vicinity of the cheese rolling event by Tewkesbury Borough council for parking offences. 
PCNs are charged at £70, however if payment is received within 14 days of issue, the charge is reduced by 50% to £35.

BBC Local Weather Forecast for Gloucester including Coopers Hill

Latest Weather Satellite Image (Visible)     Latest Weather Satellite Image (Infra-Red)     Latest Rainfall Radar


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.

 

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

 


 

Events Leading Up To The 2013 Event:

Following the failure in 2011, for the second year running, to arrange an "official" cheese rolling, the self appointed organising committee has been disbanded and an application has been made to Companies House to have the company CHCRC Ltd (from which members of the organising committee were drawn) struck off the official companies register.

However a very successful Cheese Rolling event was organised by local enthusiasts who were not prepared to allow the tradition to be killed off. This was very similar to the successful "unofficial" cheese rolling in 2010, being held on the Late May Bank Holiday Monday as per recent tradition, starting at 12:00 midday.

The "Committee" no longer exists, therefore the references to "Official" and "Unofficial" events are no longer relevant, we will therefore, refer to the Cheese Rolling without further qualification.

Police were in attendance on the local roads to ensure safety and prevent vehicular access to the site. 
Policing appeared, however to have a "lighter touch" than the somewhat heavy presence last year, also appearing more good humored in approach.

Certainly the event this year was well organised, with a very obvious, caring and considered approach to safety for both the competitors and spectators alike.

Will there be a "white knight" in the form of a new organisation, with a new vision, to step in and organise the event commercially in the future, only time will tell? 

Maybe Red Bull could give it Wings?.

Now, is certainly the time for a new organisation to step in, take over and organise a traditional event for Monday 26th May 2014.

 

The Recent Historical Context To The Cheese Rolling Since 2010.

 

In 2010 CHCRC Ltd, the organisation responsible for staging the "official" event, decided to cancel the 2010 event.

 

Following the cancellation of the 'official' event in 2010, an 'unofficial' event was staged by a loyal group of local fans of the Cheese-Rolling, who were determined that the event should still take place.

It seems certain that some form of Cheese Rolling event will happen on the Late Spring Bank Holiday Monday each year, as many loyal and enthusiastic locals are determined not to allow the age old tradition to die.

 

Grateful thanks are extended to the individuals and organisations who give their support to Cheese Rolling and this web site 

 

It is evident that many people, including, nearby residents, the organisers and the police, would wish to see an end to the world-wide popularity of this event. 

 

An excellent 2010 Unofficial Cheese Rolling Event at Cooper's Hill, was successful in maintaining the unbroken tradition of the event, 2011, 2012 and 2013 continued the age old tradition, despite the well publicised interventions by Gloucestershire Police in an obvious attempt to discourage anyone from trying to ensure that the event could take place.
Whatever the future holds for the event, full information will be made available here, as a free public service, to the public in general via this web site.   

 

View all the past events on this site by clicking here

[*The Late Spring Bank Holiday, is determined by statute as the last Monday in May each year.]

 

Webmaster - Last Edited 31-Jan-2014 19:22:36 avsglos

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