In 2003, the event had to be cancelled at short notice due to an earthquake in Algeria!
Due to the lack of safety coverage, the 2003 Cheese Rolling at Coopers Hill had to be cancelled

Following the cancellation of the Cheese Rolling in 1978, due to "bureaucratic constraints related to public safety"  The committee enlisted the services of the Gloucestershire based search and rescue organisation, SARAID to assist St. John Ambulance personnel by moving possible casualties safely off the precipitous hill for treatment

Unfortunately, during May 2003 there was an earthquake in Algeria which needed the emergency help 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 the event.

BBC News Coverage of the Earthquake in Algeria, the search for survivors is called off!

*Three times in recent years, the public event has been cancelled:

1998 - The police had been very concerned by the number of injuries (most of them fairly minor) that were reported the previous year. The following statement was issued to the press on Tuesday 19th. May, (the week before the Bank holiday) by the Cheese Roll Committee:

2001 - A 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.

2003 - SARAID 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 the event.

However ... on each of these occasions a single cheese has been rolled by the committee, to maintain the tradition.

Some spectators, unaware of the cancellation still arrived at Coopers Hill and the result was traffic chaos.
Some spectators, unaware of the cancellation, caused traffic chaos!

Even "Elvis" lent a hand to direct the traffic and try to organise things!
"Elvis" was there to help out directing the traffic.

An unknown local "poet" got to work on the "Race Cancelled" sign on the hill, 
The local poet was at work on the "Cancelled" sign
adding his / her own contribution to this unique day
There was to be a Cheese Rolling on the day after all it would seem!

......Not the official race, but an impromptu race by a few intrepid souls determined that the tradition would continue, unbroken on time and on Cheese Rolling day!

Then, at the appointed hour, the race began, 

Theyr'e OFF, only one cheese this year, but the tradition is maintained!
The Cheese (actually a yellow ball), was rolled and almost as quickly the competitors ran, slid and tumbled down the famous hill, following it!

When the committee rolled a single cheese a few days later, crowds still lined the hill, well not so many.......
Crowds lined the hill as always
but then everyone would have a good view, which is not always the case at a "normal" Cheese Rolling on the hill.

The Committee used one of the cheeses that had been ordered (too late to stop the order)
and afterwards, they sold the other three, with the proceeds going to charity.
The famous Double Gloucester Cheese - One was rolled and the other three sold for charity
The Committee also had a beer-and-cheese evening - the origin of that cheese is not recorded!

 Joint winners of the Committee Cheese Rolling, were Amelia and Verity Hardwick, 
The joint winners were Amelia and Verity Hardwick
(daughters of the local farmer who provides the car-park)

Happily, no injuries were sustained and the services of the St. John's Ambulance crew were not needed on this occasion
Without the prescence of SARAID, St.John's Ambulance reluctantly withdrew their services, due to concerns for safety

SARAID were, of course hard at work, valiantly contributing their essential skills to the Earthquake rescue efforts in Algeria.
 Meanwhile SARAID were far away assisting earthquake relief in Algeria, it was for this reason the event was cancelled in 2003
SARAID are ever ready to fly out at very short notice, to any human disaster anywhere in the world. They are a totally voluntary, non governmental organisation, supported by donations. Their work, as is the case with the other emergency aid organisations, is essential during the first few hours after a disaster, when their skills at locating injured and trapped survivors of the initial disaster will save countless lives. It is often the case in disasters, that the local infrastructure and systems break down and local government and officials in the immediate vicinity are overwhelmed. Outside assistance therefore is vital particularly in the first few hours

Please visit the SARAID web site for more information on the organisation and its works, here you can also make a donation to assist their efforts

SARAID - Search And Rescue Assistance In Disasters

           (Photos J.J.)


Webmaster - Last Edited 15-Jun-2010 22:12:13 avsglos

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