Special sunrise cheese roll takes place at Gloucestershire's Cooper's Hill

Jem Wakeman Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling master of the cheese sunrise
Jem Wakeman, Master of the Cheese.

The tradition of cheese rolling in Gloucestershire is being kept alive after the famous mass event was cancelled to the public for a second year in a row.

Master of the Cheese Jem Wakeman took a 9lb Double Gloucester to the top of Cooper's Hill as the sun rose this morning (May 31) before ceremonially rolling it to the bottom.

This year's roll was dedicated to local farmer David Hardwick, who died after a farming accident last year.

The cheese rolling event traditionally takes place on the second bank holiday in May and attracts thousands of spectators and participants.

Participants in the 2019 Cheese Roll.

Keen cheese enthusiasts meet at the top of the near-vertical hill before throwing themselves after the wheel, with the first one to reach the bottom claiming it as their well-earned prize.

However, the spectacle has now been postponed for two years in a row due to Covid restrictions, with a picturesque ceremonial roll taking place instead.

Cheese Master Jem Wakeman said: "It's a shame that it couldn't go ahead. Normally we'd be rolling at 12pm but we've had to come here early in the morning to make sure there's no one here trying to chase it.

"We've had people get in touch asking to move it to later in the year but we can't put it in place, because tradition is today and you can't change tradition can you!"

The wheel was rolled down Cooper's Hill this morning to keep the tradition alive.

He said it would have been impossible to go ahead with the full event this year even though restrictions are lifting as the 30-person outdoor 'bubble' would be breached immediately.

"We could have anything from 2,000 to 7,000 people here and there's no way we can do the bubbles so between us and the police it was decided to just call it a day," he added.

"You've got to think about the people that live round here at the bottom. The majority of them are probably elderly, they've been in their bubble, then they get all us lot descending on their hill when we're really not free to do so."

Despite the disappointment that the cheese once again had to roll solo, Mr Wakeman says he is hopeful that it will be the last time.

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