Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling: Rebels turn to Facebook for support
REBEL cheese rollers who want to stage their own version of the cancelled event will not be given any support by organisers.
A groundswell of disgruntled fans posting on Facebook and other internet sites have vowed to throw themselves down Cooper's Hill next Monday, despite health and safety fears forcing the official event to be called off.
But Richard Jefferies, spokesman for the Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling Committee, has distanced himself from the copycat event.
He said: "I will not be going to the hill on the day and neither will any other member of the committee. There are no plans to hold a ceremonial rolling of the cheese or anything like that. I am sure people will come and some of them will go down the hill, but as far as we are concerned we will not be taking part.
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"Our focus is now on next year. This year's event has been cancelled."
The world-famous cheese rolling festival, which has taken place on Cooper's Hill for 200 years, was scrapped in March after insurers refused to cover the event.
More than 15,000 people flocked to the hill last year to take part in the madcap dash down a near-vertical slope in pursuit of a 7lb double Gloucester cheese.
The figure far outstripped the official capacity of the site, which is estimated to be 5,000, and prompted insurers to pull out until stricter limits are placed on the number of spectators.
The sudden move sparked fury among fans. The Facebook group Bring Back The Cheese Rolling now has more than 11,500 members, many of whom say they will stage their own event.
Poster Jamie MacDonald wrote: "The good thing is, if we all just rock up, there's not a damn thing they can do.
"No one will be to blame, because there will be no official organiser. Who's coming with me?"
Six-time winner Chris Anderson has also vowed to take to the hill on Monday, but says he has no quarrel with the organisers.
He has published a statement on the committee's website, www.cheese-rolling.co.uk distancing himself from people trying to organise a rebel cheese rolling run.
It said: "I will be up there on the day, but I'm not doing it to go against your wishes because I respect Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling Committee and its members a lot. I don't know what it is, but I just can't stay away. I have organised nothing and the group on Facebook Bring Back The Cheese Rolling, has got nothing to do with me."