2012

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 2012

The tradition of Cheese Rolling at Cooper's Hill 
continues unbroken.

The annual Cheese-Rolling Festival 2012 at Cooper's Hill in Gloucestershire 
(The Diamond Jubilee Cheese-Rolling) 
took place at 12:00 midday on the Late Spring Bank Holiday Monday 4th June.

Following persistent rain in Gloucestershire over the weekend, 
Bank Holiday Monday dawned dull but drier with temperatures rising to the 16 degrees C during the afternoon.

Due to the recent heavy rain, the ground conditions were quite soft, which is ideal for the event.

The Cheese-Rolling, in 2012 has, as for the last two previous years (2010 & 2011), 
has been staged by an ad-hoc group of enthusiasts most of whom live locally to Cooper's Hill and nearby Brockworth.

2012 The Diamond Jubilee Cheese-Rolling at Cooper's Hill

2012 Diamond Jubilee Cheese-Rolling Videos

Courtesy of SoGlos.com and MaxDreamCreator

Cheese Rolling 2012 in Slow motion from Mark Whatmore, Yoho Media

 

Anticipation grows as Chris Anderson, with arms outstretched,  organises competitors & spectators 
at the top of the hill, before the start of the first race of the 2012 event.

Then the first cheese is rolled and the event is underway!
Chris, as always is well to the fore...

..,. and the winner of the first event? - Chris Anderson

Results for the Mens Downhill Cheese-Race, Race 1
Cheese Roller Duncan Lawlor
1st Chris Anderson Brockworth, GLOS UK
2nd Unknown
3rd Unknown

 

already Chris is looking back the start line for the next race

as always, Chris returns to the start line by the quickest (and steepest) route, straight up the hill.

They are off on race 2

!Seconds later the race is over, and the winner is again Chris Anderson.

Results for the Mens Downhill Cheese-Race, Race 2
Cheese Roller John Anderson Jnr
1st Chris Anderson Brockworth, GLOS UK
2nd Jamie Evans Brockworth, GLOS UK
3rd Unknown

 

The Children's Uphill race, this is the hard one!

The lad in the Purple & Grey hooped sweater will turn out to be the winner! 

And now... The Ladies Race

The cheese crosses the line, can the steward catch it?

Missed!

Now he's off to retrieve it

Here, in the green sweater, is the winner of the ladies race... Caught by a steward...

... now we just have to find the cheese...

Got it, hope it's not damaged!

Look what I won!

The press surround the Ladies Race winner

Results for the Women's Downhill Cheese-Race, Race 3
Cheese Roller Deborah Harwood
1st Lucy Townsend (15) Brockworth, GLOS UK
2nd Unknown
3rd Unknown

 

Chris Anderson decided not to compete in the last race, 
but could not resist doing one of his, now famous solo demonstration runs down the hill.

Race 4 (The Diamond Jubilee Race)

Marcus Jefferies was given the honor of rolling the Diamond Jubilee Cheese as a tribute to his father,

 

Richard Jefferies, former organiser and for many years, spokesman and commentator for the event, 
his was the voice of Cheese-Rolling at Cooper's Hill.
 Richard died on the 19thApril this year

They are off to a really fast start, right behind the cheese!

Seconds later the race is won by Craig Fairley

Results for the Mens Downhill Cheese-Race, Race 4
Cheese Roller Marcus Jefferies
1st Craig Fairley Brockworth, GLOS UK
2nd Unknown
3rd Aaron Harris Brockworth, GLOS UK

 

Medics are on have to administer first aid if required

Craig Fairley holds up the "Diamond Jubilee Cheese" in triumph...
...note the "Diamond Jubilee" special wrapping of the cheese!

Chris Anderson & Craig Fairley, winners of the 2012 Mens Races

(Since the 2011 event, Chris has joined the army, his sweater carries the emblem of 
"The Rifles", one of the two largest regiments in the British Army ...
their motto "Swift and Bold" on his arm seems particularly appropriate and certainly describes Chris.)

Chris Anderson is interviewed by a Japanese Reporter and film crew.

The winner of the Ladies Race of 2012 is 15-year-old Lucy Townsend
(No, she didn't actually catch the cheese, she's just been up the hill with it and is making her way carefully back down!)

This Cheese is all mine!
(How did she manage to stay so clean???)

Lucy Townsend

As usual, the event has been covered by film and television crews from all over the world, including teams of reporters from Japan and Germany and in particular Australia where the event at Cooper's Hill has a fanatical following.

Voices in many languages can be heard from the large crowd of spectators around the site, some of whom have traveled many miles to witness this special and spectacular event. 

One spectator was heard to say, "we should have something like this back in Canada" - with a little research they would find there is a similar event in Whistler in Canada, there are similar and tribute events around the world in many countries including Italy and Japan, but nowhere else has the most important ingredients, that formidable hill and those unique individuals who are motivated to conquer it!


We would welcome your comments and pictures of the Cheese-Rolling for publication on the site.

email to: webmaster@cheese-rolling.co.uk


.....and so, the event over for yet another year, everyone returns home with their memories of an excellent day at the Cheese Rolling at Cooper's hill and the certainty that they will be back next year for more!

The annual cheese rolling event is usually held on the Spring Bank Holiday at the end of May, this year the Late Spring Bank Holiday was mover into the first week in June to coincide with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Bank Holiday, Next year the Late Spring Bank Holiday and therefore the event will return to the end of May, the date will be Monday 27th May 2013.

Although the event is known for injuries to those taking part, with sprains and broken bones reletevly common, no major injuries were reported this year.. (or in 2010 and 2011).

In 2009, the injury toll of 18 was described as 'low' by St John Ambulance. Ten of the wounded were spectators, St John Ambulance no longer provide first aid cover for the event.

The unusual event has been celebrated for centuries and is thought to have its roots in a heathen festival to celebrate the return of spring.

The last time the "official" cheese rolling was staged was in 2009, when spectators packed the site and surrounding area.

In 2009 an estimated 5000 spectators (as quoted in a report prepared for the HSE) packed the site and surrounding area.
In that year, police made a statement that estimated the number of people "trying to get to the event" as 15,000, this was then misreported and repeated in various press media as 15,000 actually on site, this was totally incorrect, in fact, had there been that many on site, there would have been no room to roll the cheeses!  This statement and it's later misreporting and repetition, was a major contributing factor to difficulties presented in staging the event in following years.

Following a failed attempt to commercialise the event in 2010 and adverse press coverage and confusion, together with poor weather conditions, numbers of spectators fell in 2010, partially recovering in 2011, this year, spectator numbers are estimated at 2500.

From the successful staging of the event by local volunteers on an ad-hoc basis for the last three years, it is self-evident that the event has returned to it's former status as a well attended, free to enter, free to attend, local event, staged by the people, for the people.. 
It would seem that thanks to the actions of the local supporters, we can all relax in the knowledge that the event will continue, unchanged, into the foreseeable future.

The 2012 event was characterised by the usual good natured attitude of the large crowd of enthusiastic spectators and supporters who were there just to have a really enjoyable day, no injuries or incidents were reported. 
The event was extremely well stewarded and staffed by volunteers who ensured safety by firm but sympathetic control.

At the end of the event, volunteers were to be seen collecting rubbish, both from the hill and from spectators directly, the environment was left clean if the grass, as usual was a little scarred.

Chris Anderson in 2011

 

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 Cheese-Rolling.
(O.S. SO888147)
(N51:49:51 - W2:09:50)
(UK Postcode GL3 4SB)

 BBC Local Weather Forecast for Gloucester including Coopers Hill

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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.

 

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