Hordes of madcap runners are expected to tumble down Cooper’s Hill after a Double Gloucester at next month’s ‘unofficial’ cheese rolling – and this year the cheese will be real.
The world-famous race sees competitors flinging themselves down Cooper’s Hill chasing a 9lb Double Gloucester cheese but last year a foam ‘cheese’ was used causing upset among traditionalists.
In 2013, the Gloucester Citizen revealed police had advised cheese maker Diana Smart not to supply a Double Gloucester for the traditional event, but it went ahead with around 5,000 watching on the hill overlooking Brockworth and Witcombe.
Sadly one champion competitor will not be able to race this year.
Chris Anderson, 26, has won 13 races in eight years but ankle ligament damage has sidelined him from the event expected to go ahead on the Spring Bank Holiday on May 26.
“It’s a shame, what’s happened to it but it couldn’t be held officially because of health and safety,” said Chris, a serving member of the Rifles Regiment based at Chepstow. He plans to watch however.
“If I wasn’t injured I might well be there at the top of the hill. It looks like my cheese rolling days are over, for now at least.”
Churcham cheese maker Mrs Smart, 87, who last year was told by police she could be seen as an organiser of the event and so liable for damages if she provided a cheese, plans to do so this year.
“I have been asked to provide some cheese, so why not?” she said.
Since the early 1800s, a cheese has been chased down the 200 yard, one in three, hill. But after an estimated 15,000 spectators stretched the venue and organisers to near breaking point in 2009, organisers of the 2010 event were forced to cancel.
A commercial event foundered and in 2010 it returned as an ad-hoc event.
There was no official medical cover last year and there may not be next month.
A Gloucestershire Constabulary spokesman said it had not spoken to anyone who may be taking part in this year’s event, and declined to comment