As Gloucestershire awoke to a sunny Bank Holiday, high on a hill above Brockworth a tradition was being carried out.
Master of Cheese Jem Wakeman held the huge Double Gloucester aloft and launched it down Cooper’s Hill for the annual Cheese Rolling. With the main event cancelled once again due to Coronavirus restrictions, Jem rolled the cheese as the sun rose to stop crowds gathering.
This year was a poignant one for Jem, who rolled the nine pound cheese from Smarts of Birdwood in memory of David Hardwick, a farmer who showed great support for the event in previous years who died in a farming accident in 2020.
As he arrived at the top of the hill, in a buggy due to a broken leg, Jem was surprised to find a small encampment of tents, out of which emerged a group of young skateboarders who had travelled to Brockworth in the hope they might see the event. The group, a team of skateboarders who called themselves the Cheeserollers, were in luck.
The is the second year in a row the event has been held without a crowd, at dawn, in a bid to stop people gathering and breaching restrictions. After rolling the cheese Jem urged people to stay away from the hill today and not risk injury by recreating the roll themselves.
Jem said: ” There will be nothing going on so if they can stay away from the hill because if they are going to be playing on the hill there will be injuries and there’s nobody here to pick them up.”
Have you ever taken part in the Cheese Rolling? Will you be there in 2022? Let us know in the comments below:
The tradition of the Cooper’s Hill Cheese Roll and Wake dates back centuries. Some say it was all about claiming grazing rights on the common and land around Cooper’s Hill, others reckon it could have been a fertility ritual. Nowadays cheese rolling is officially an extreme sport, with competitors heading to Gloucester from across the globe.
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The event normally attracts up to 8,000 spectators, with participants aided by the efforts of Brockworth Rugby Club to catch them at the bottom of the hill. Jem is hopeful the crowds will be back in 2022.
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