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'Health and safety killjoys' kill cheese-rolling race

Traditional Gloucester hill stampede canned

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In grim news for those who think it's a bit of a wheeze to chase an 8lb Double Gloucester cheese for 200 yards down a near-vertical hillside, the organisers of the Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake have announced that this year's event is cancelled.

The Daily Mail points the finger firmly at "health and safety killjoys" for the decision* - the first time in 200 years that the village of Brockworth will not celebrate the traditional annual stampede, of late held on May Bank Holiday.

In fact, the event has become so popular that last year saw 15,000 spectators flock to the site, three times its capacity. Local roads were clogged with traffic and organisers admit the cheese-rolling has "far outgrown its location".

The cancellation has "shattered" Diana Smart, 83, who produces the participating cheeses at her farm in the Forest of Dean. She said: "I'm shaking at the prospect of not having any cheese-rolling. It is one of our biggest raisers of funds for the business, particularly this year when we're desperately trying to increase our premises."

The organising committee is now working with the powers that be to resolve the crowd and other issues, and insists the event "will be back, in a revised form, in 2011". ®

Bootnote

* Those of you who are protesting that the Mail isn't actually suggesting health and safety madness is to blame are referred to the paper's headline, which reads: "Cheese-rolling race axed after 200 years... thanks to health and safety killjoys".

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