Gloucester's Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake cancelled for 2021 due to coronavirus pandemic

  • Watch footage from Gloucestershire's world-famous cheese-rolling competition

A historic cheese-rolling event has been cancelled for another year due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The Cooper’s Hill Cheese Roll is an annual race held at Cooper's Hill, near Brockworth, Gloucester. It attracts people from around the world who come to chase a Double Gloucester cheese down the 200-yard-long hill.The Cheese Roll usually takes place on the second Bank Holiday Monday in May each year.

But this year gatherings of more than 30 people will be illegal until at least June 21, when restrictions are due to ease. In the past the event has attracted crowds of up to 8,000.

Last year's event was cancelled due to the pandemic and a secret sunrise cheese roll took place instead.

Organisers confirmed on Tuesday 20 April that 2021's event would not be going ahead.

Master of the Cheese Jem Wakeman said: "We are very disappointed, but with the Covid restrictions we have got to do what we're told.

"We don't know what kind of crowd we are going to have, it could be a thousand, it could be 5,000.

"It's also not fair on the people who live locally, having it all outside their houses when we are in this pandemic still.

"So we have decided to pull the plug and wait until next year."

The tradition dates back centuries. Some say it was all about claiming grazing rights on the common and land around Cooper's Hill, others believe it could have been a fertility ritual.

Nowadays cheese-rolling is officially an extreme sport, with competitors heading to Gloucester from across the globe.

The event takes place on the second bank holiday of May every year. Credit: PA

The race involves chasing a 9lb Double Gloucester cheese down the near vertical slopes of the hill - the first runner to the bottom wins and the cheese is the prize.

The aim is to catch the cheese but given it travels at speeds of up to 70mph it is near on impossible.

With no runners and no crowds, the cheese roll last year was purely a symbolic affair, with the Master of Cheese Jem Wakeman rolling the cheese (from Smart's of Birdwood) down an empty hill shortly after sunrise at about 5.30am.

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