"Official" cheese rolling returns
FIVE hundred people turned out for the annual cheese rolling yesterday as defiant fans declared: "It's back for good."
Despite the official event being called off, dozens of competitors braved driving rain to hurl themselves down the 1:2 incline to keep alive the 200-year-old tradition.
King of Cooper's Hill, Chris Anderson, was back for his seventh year and notched up three wins out of three at the madcap event.
The world-famous spectacle was scrapped last year when insurers refused to cover it, citing health and safety fears.
Sunday and Monday evenings £12.00 per head for an all inclusive meal with Indian and Thai cuisine (normal price £14.50).
Bring this voucher to the restaurant complete with your name and email address on it.
Terms: Expires 31st July
Contact: 01452 223782
Valid until: Wednesday, July 31 2013
Earlier this year, a new cheese rolling committee tried to make it a two-day ticketed festival – but called it off after receiving threats.
Just before noon yesterday, following a campaign on Facebook, hundreds of spectators climbed the hill to watch five races – three for men, one for women and an uphill one for children.
There was a heavy police presence, but no arrests, and despite the wet conditions there were no reported injuries. The last time it was staged officially in 2009, 15,000 people turned up and 58 were hurt.
Chris, 23, who has won the event every year since 2005, said the zany tradition of chasing a whole Double Gloucester down the slope was back on track.
He said: "It's official again. There was a great atmosphere and most of the crowd were local, too. It's back to what it should be."
Chris, who hopes to go into the Forces in September, could have had his last run.
He said: "If I get into the Army, that will be it. I won't do it again."
Candis Phillips, from Brockworth, won the event more than 20 years ago. She said: "This is what cheese rolling is – people coming up to the hill with a smile on their face and having fun.
"Paying to get in would have put a lot of people off. The green- eyed monsters tried to make it something it's not. It's gone back to how it used to be."
Sara Stevens, from Brockworth, said: "It's brilliant. I spoke to people who had come from Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
"It took it back to how it started and how it should be."
Paul Burrows, 48, from London, took part in last year's rogue event, which attracted 200 people, and he was back this year.
He said: "This is a victory for the common man over those who wanted to ruin the event.
"Conditions were tough, and it made it all the more terrifying."
Bringing no change of clothes, Paul faced a two-and-a-half hour drive back home afterwards in his muddied jeans and jacket.
Jo Guest, 14, from Wolverhampton, was the winner in the women's race. It was her first race.
She said: "It was amazing, awesome. It is really steep, but great fun. I'll definitely be coming back next year."
James Morgan, 25, from Brockworth, dressed in a dog costume for the day and took part as a "catcher" – standing at the bottom of the hill to catch the runners.
He said: "There were more people than I expected."
Police said the event went as smoothly as they could have hoped. Inspector Arman Mathieson said: "There were no serious injuries in any of the races and it was concluded by approximately 1pm.
"We have had no reports that there was any trouble linked to the event."