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The infamous Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling event will go ahead this year despite fears over health and safety.
The event, which has become a bit of a local institution, sees scores of people legging it down the steep Cleeve Hill chasing a big truckle of Double Gloucester cheese. This inevitably leads to numerous scrapes, sprains and bruises and even broken bones which caught the attention of health and safety experts and put the future of the event in jeopardy. The event was the victim of its own popularity in 2009 when 15,000 spectators turned up to a venue equipped to hold only 5,000, resulting in the cancellation of last year’s event and raising question over its future. However, it has now been confirmed that the race will go ahead in 2011 but it will be ticketed this time. Cheltenham-based events specialists, Event and Management Services Ltd (E&MS) have been hired to save the centuries-old Cotswold tradition of Cheese Rolling from extinction, amidst fears over crowd safety. The Cheese Rolling Committee has appointed E&MS to help manage the event and transform it in to a ticketed, two day festival in June. This is the first time in its history that the committee has sought the support of an event management company and, in addition, Gloucester-based Moose Partnership for PR and Sponsorship. Peter Allison, director of E&MS, said: “I have lived in Cheltenham for eight years and have known of the Cheese Roll for much of this time. I was honored to have been approached by the Cheese Rolling Committee to help keep this ancient tradition alive. We have been in continuous talks with police and emergency services, highways agency and local authorities and in consultation with the immediate Cooper’s Hill community. The decision to grow to a two-day event will help disburse the crowd and address the safety fears from previous years. This is just one on the issues including proper parking, traffic control and public safety that will remain our top priority. In order to ensure that the tradition is not lost, the focus will remain on the cheese rolling itself but be expanded to become an all round family orientated event.” Cheese Rolling Committee spokesman Nigel Thomas added: “The event really needs to change dramatically if it is to survive. In its present form it attracts just too many people for us to handle safely.”
For more information see www.cheeserollingfestival.co.uk