back to article 'Health and safety killjoys' kill cheese-rolling race

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" …


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  1. rpjs

    Didn't this happen before?

    And the local people ignored the "cancellation" and went and did it anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Using guerilla cheese?

      'Nuff said...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Health and safety will kill it

    So the event "will be back, in a revised form, in 2011".

    No doubt this means it'll be back in a healthy, safe form. With people chasing low-fat cheese across a flat surface, wearing safety helmets and knee protectors. In wheelchairs. One at a time. Bastards!

    1. Dibbles


      ...You forgot to mention that it'll be commentated by Richard Hammond. On the BBC. In a primetime slot on Saturday night.

    2. Marvin the Martian
      Thumb Down


      It's not like you've read the article, really? Just the title and it's whingeing time. Bla bla bla bla...

      The message is feel free to break your legs and/or neck running after some stupid cheese, Health&Safety have no problem with that. You deserve what you get I suppose. It's the 10k too many people invading a village that cause the problem, people that have been turning up only the last few years because of all these "odd news" items about it. A local fete is now just 15000 drunken strangers mulling about.

  3. Will Godfrey Silver badge


    Every time I think this country can't get more pathetic something like this comes along to prove me wrong.

    1. Richard 125

      Stupidity? Where?

      The only stupidity here is 15k people going to a venue with vastly insufficient capacity. Concern for people possibly getting hurt isn't "pathetic" but is actually "considerate" and "responsible".

      1. Monkeywrench

        So it took them nearly 10 months to figure this out?

        It's obvious they did not want to have the event again period. Wait 9-1/2 months and then say it's too late to do anything this year but maybe next year the event will be back in "some form". What a bunch of hogwash. Good thing you don't have the running of the bulls there.

    2. Jolyon


      Every time I think people complaining about this country can't get more pathetic someone like this comes along to prove me wrong.

  4. Kirstian K


    I actually participated in this 2 years ago,

    It was a scary experience, i did see a few pep's get really hurt and dragged of in ambulances.

    it is a steep arse hill, and in the wet, it was like the scariest water/mud slide you've ever seen,

    except if you loose it the possibility of breaking you neck is really high!

    BUT what a day out,

    this is a real shame, and another example of the state taking everything that makes out nation great away.

    they can take out cheese rolling, and our freedom but they cant take our......! oh wait, theres nothing left, yup they took it all.... he he..!


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      There's exaggeration, and there's over-exaggeration!

      "...down a near-vertical hillside..." ? Try "about 45°" - how many earth hills do you know that would be stable with a near-vertical face?

    2. Greg J Preece

      So what you're saying... that it's dangerous as all hell - and it is - but that's not a reason for anyone to think that finding somewhere safer would be a good idea?

      1. Graham Marsden

        It may be dangerous...

        ... but so are a lot of things.

        At what point should the Nanny State step in and day "No, you can't do that because it's too dangerous for you"?

    3. Joe 3
      Thumb Down


      "...another example of the state taking everything..."

      Have you actually read the article? It was the ORGANISERS who cancelled it due to too many people turning up. The whole area was gridlocked last year for starters, isn't that the sort of thing you knee-jerk Daily Mail types normally complain about?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Simple Solution

    Just sell tickets, Priority and reduced rate to locals. Money raised can go to charity or council costs, better the former.

    Paris, as she has licked her fair share of cheese

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    In the name of the wee man

    Chasing *anything* down a hill is dangerous. But people do it of their own free will and so long as they know the risks and make a personal choice; who gives a friggin' toss?

    Maybe have them stump up a few to cover the paramedics/first aid, but that's it. Broken bones should be the worst of it.

    What next? "Motorcycling banned - too dangerous" (actually, they're trying that one), "Card banned - 1,000 times more dangerous than trains", "Breathing banned - oxygen free-radicals cause cellular stress"

    After unions, the health and safety hand-wringing-worry-worts have got to be one of the worst things in this country.

    1. Paul 4

      Read the story

      Its not the heill but the 15k people terning up. I quite agree. As im sure you know people go get taken to A&E, but what would happen if the roads were too blocked with spectators for them to get out?

  7. Lionel Baden

    real pity !!!

    but was it health and safety


    just not being able to afford the amount of ambulances and cover police costs for traffic and parking etc etc etc etc etc

  8. LinkOfHyrule

    Oh my

    I'm very sad to hear this isn't happening. I love eccentric local traditions and I think they should be celebrated and even protected so as to preserve them for the future generations.

    I'm going to chuck a Babybelle down my stairs later as a tribute. If I can get a more appropriate cheese I will use that instead/eat it, yum.

  9. Alex Walsh

    Our Local Council

    In St Albans had its 15 minutes of fame in the Daily Mail when its pancake day race was reduced to a pancake day orderly walk due to HEALTH & SAFETY GONE MAD when the pavements got a bit damp when it rained.

  10. Jolyon Ralph
    Thumb Up

    I have the ideal solution.

    Actually, I don't. But I figured by the time I'd click to this box I would have thought of it. Give me a moment please...

    Ah yes..

    Bubble-wrap suits.

  11. Harry

    Theree's gotta be a caption there ...

    Like Cheesed Off by Big Cheeses.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    It'll go ahead anyway!

    I live just down the road, and I bet it goes ahead regardless!

    All this heath & saftey rubbish - surely it's up to me if I want to risk breaking my leg!

  13. The Indomitable Gall


    Health and safety has two problems here:

    1) Inherent danger involved in the activity.

    Not a biggie. Some people climb hundreds of metres up without safety equipment. Their life, their choice.

    2) Overcrowding.

    When the event draws too many people, individual risk gives way to collective risk. This event has got so big that one person's slip could hurt a lot of people. This event was originally a small local gathering, and would have happened in many places around the area. It did not evolve for the scale presented now. Marathons have large numbers of participants. Sprints do not. Nature of the game.

    If people want to take part in cheese rolling, they should organise their own local event.

    Lots of small ones is safer than one big one.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    what next

    what next


  15. The elephant in the room

    Going underground...

    Just like surfers riding big waves when the red flag is flying or maniacs who change printer toner cartridges without wearing safety glasses, if you were born to roll cheese, if it is in your blood and defines Who You Are, you are not going to stop just because The Man says it is too dangerous. A hill. A round cheese*. A gravitational field. Game on.

    The word is there is a movie in development where Vin Diesel goes undercover in the underground cheeserolling scene...

    *soon to be banned and replaced by square ones.

  16. Adam Hammerton

    Good old Daily Mail

    Nice to see some non-biased reporting in the good old Daily Fail. For those who agree with them, go and actually read the artical.

    No-one has made any mention of the actual cheese rolling being a problem, it actually looks quite fun and wouldn't mind a go myself. The only problem they have is too many people want to watch a bunch of fun loving nutters roll arse over tit after a lump of curdled cow juice which probably clogs up every road for miles around causing problems for emergency services and the like.

    If we're going to slate H&S (and yes, sometimes it does warrant it and yes, I'm an "elf 'n' safety" bod) let's at least get the facts straight first.

  17. Antony Smith

    Good old daily mail

    Another quality piece of accurate, fact based journalism by the DM.

    First cancellation in 200 years?? It was cancelled in 2003 because the safety volunteers couldn't attend as they were in Algeria assisting in the aftermath of an earth quake.

    Still why let facts get in the way of sticking the boot into Killjoy britain.

  18. banjomike

    Dozy event, but...

    You cannot beat the Cheese Police.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Please, enough Daily-Mail rubbish

    As one reply already said, this isn't exactly a low risk event.

    But the reason events like this get cancelled isn't generally the HSE, it's because the organisers can't/won't pay for the legally required insurance, and the reason they can't/won't pay for the legally required insurance isn't generally the HSE, it's generally the rise and rise of the "Had an accident? Let us make you rich!" scumbaggs aka the "no win no fee" lawyers who are forcing the insurance premiums through the roof.

    I hope something horrible happens to them all.

    The rest of you: have a lovely weekend.


    No I'm not an HSE employee or affiliated in any way with that sector. But I have seen too many incidents which would not have occurred if organisations had followed the legally required rules, and it's very very very rare for anyone actually to be taken to task for breaking them.

  20. Number6


    How about replacing the cheese with a Safety Elf? I'm sure there would be plenty of competitors wanting to push one of those down a steep hill.

  21. Tom Melly

    In fairness to the HSE...

    I read this as a concern about crowd-levels rather than, y'know, the bloody suicidal cheese-chasing. I could be wrong though.

    Meanwhile, have a link:

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Health and safety will kill it

    From what I can gather its not been cancelled due to dangers inherent in chasing a cheese down a steep hil but rather because last year 15000 people turned up to a location that was only capable of holding ~5000 people. I assume it will be back in 2011 as a ticket-only event.

    1. Andus McCoatover

      Simple restriction...

      "I assume it will be back in 2011 as a ticket-only event."

      Install parking meters in the vicinity. Plus a few blokes wandering about with notebooks and yellow-banded hats. Proceeds to the council. That'll do it.

  23. Ben Oldham


    I'm local, and there is no way on this blue earth you'll get me down Coopers Hill.

    Agree with Kristian though - tis a proper good day out, with Cracking Cheese to boot.

  24. Craig 28


    If you saw lots of people get hurt and dragged off in ambulances I fail to see how in good conscience you can encourage it in its current form. There will always be people who wish to take part in dangerous activities, but most dangerous activities require effort to take part in. Something so easily available and so potentially dangerous is quite a concern to be honest.

    As to taking things, "You can take our freedom but you can't take our trousers!"

    1. Anonymous Coward

      You think there is no effort?

      In standing at the top of a 45 degree slope and then hurling yourself down it? Maybe if you trick yourself into falling down sure or if you accidentally slip. However with any extreme event it's the throwing yourself off the edge which is the hardest part. You always land!

      next time you have a spare afternoon go stand at the top of a 10 meter cliff over a deep pool and see how much mental effort it takes to jump.

      Go, because some law of relativity or something says that the higher the effort required to jump the greater the satisfaction.

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

      ....and there's the real problem.

      For some reason, if someone chooses to do something dangerous of their own volition and while aware of the risks involved, there are small-minded arsehats who go out of their way to say "you can't do that, it's dangerous".

      What did you have in mind? Some kind of Government issued "allowed to do dangerous things" license?

  25. jake Silver badge


    "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.""

    Poor, poor Diana. She's going to lose her hoped for profits, and won't be able to enlarge her cheese making business because the advertising hype and tourism outgrew the venue. Never mind the tradition, will no one think of the pensioners?

  26. The Original Ash

    A new annual event!

    Health and Safety Killjoy rolling! It's sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

  27. Mark Winpenny

    Not Participants Safety but...

    ... the 15,000 people who turn up to see it.

    From BBC news:

    "The annual cheese-rolling event in Gloucestershire has been cancelled after concerns about safety because of the number of spectators it attracts.

    Organisers of the event at Cooper's Hill near Brockworth said 15,000 people attended last year's event - more than three times the site's capacity."

    Think of the poor badgers!

  28. Natalie Gritpants

    Is Hallerton bottle kicking still going?

    That was thought to be dangerous in the seventies.

  29. NightFox

    Hold on...

    Do we actually know if this was for H&S reasons or is this just the Mail doing it's usual stirring? As far as I can see, it's been canned because the venue just can't cope with the influx of people and traffic, nothing to do with the actual safety of the cheese-runners.

    Besides, if it's not an actual "event" with an official organiser, but just something that happens, how are HSE (or anyone) actually going to stop it anyway?

    Come on people, do your own thinking, don't let the Mail do it for you!

  30. Anonymous Coward

    Lost it

    the UK has totally lost the plot. No personal responsibility allowed, we pay people to do it for you..... a sad day.

  31. Ben Rosenthal

    it's political correctness

    gone crackers! >.<

    yeah yeah, I was leaving any whey :D

  32. Sergie Kaponitovicz

    Fucking Bollox 2 the Lot of Them

    E-nuff is e-nuff.

    These are our lives. If we participate and kill ourselves - so be it.

    If we participate, kill a spectator, and survive, c'est la vie. The spectator made a free choice to be there. Shit happens.

    Where's the Rolling Cheese piccy?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Was the Mail article read?

    I never thought I would be sticking up for the Mail, but it was quite clear in the article that the health & safety problem was caused by the number of spectators - Lester's reporting implies the Mail's take was different.

  34. Andy G

    Never refer to a newspaper headline...

    It's not written by the author of the article, and at any rate this week we've seen just how inaccurate Daily Mail headlines are.

  35. Johnny G

    Easy to blame H&S

    "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 "

    This is nothing whatsoever to do with health and safety.

  36. matt 115

    Missed point

    From what I've gleaned, its canceled because of health and safety for the (to large) crowd and not the cheese chasers. Would happen to any other event, so fair enough really

  37. AndrueC Silver badge

    I bet..

    ..they are really cheesed off about this.

  38. Andrew Oakley
    IT Angle

    A local writes...

    The problem is the audience, not the participants. It's just a large local hill, there is no car park, there is no significant access for anything. It's densely wooded, other than the bit that people throw themselves down. The bits that aren't covered in trees are covered in mud. They put up a rope bannister along the side of the hill, and you haul yourself up the rope to watch assorted rugby-club veterans and peer-pressured teens injure themselves.

    There is simply no infrastructure to cope with the increased audience. There's nowhere for them to leave their cars. There's nowhere for coaches to pick up / drop off people.

    It worked fine as a local event for local people. But there is simply no way for this to work as a national or international spectacle.

    Long/lat 51.831,-2.158 if you're interested.

  39. Tom Chiverton 1

    What ever next !

    They'll be banning running through crowded streets carrying burning barrels of tar next !

    ( )

  40. David Edwards


    I used to live there and the place is tiny. So yes its a capacity issue and a victim of the "Extreme" sports. BTY No way id do that, have you seen how they fall!!!

  41. Rotate anti-clockwise ...
    Paris Hilton

    And in breaking news ...

    ... a government spokestwerp announced today that getting out of bed can seriously damage your health!

    Paris, cos she knows how important it is to stay in bed!

  42. Dennis

    Radio 4

    The organiser of the event was interviewed on Radio 4 this morning.

    Yes, the problem is with the number of people who turned up to watch creating a concern for public order and health and safety. Even that wasn't the reason to cancel this year's event.

    The proposal is to make it a ticket-only event (like many other gatherings). To control the numbers of people attending the organisers need to close off the land and control access. Unfortunately, Coopers Hill is common land with public footpaths. These can't be closed (even for one day) without the necessary permissions. Closing the common land and footpaths requires permission from councils. There isn't time to get the paperwork sorted for this year's event. So, ultimately the problem is bureaucracy.

    As the organiser admitted: a victim of its own success.

  43. Rob 30
    Thumb Up

    the dangers of cheese

    the one time i did it (back in the day) there was nowhere near even 5k people there, even so they were very densely packed to either side of the descent.

    agreed that 45 degrees is not vertical, however it looks pretty close to it when you are at the top looking down, and it is certainly steep enough to get a fair old pace on the relatively large cheese as it rolls & bounces down the uneven slope.

    shortly after my one and only descent, both of these factors combined to send the cheese careening off at a wild angle, about 3 quarters of the way down the slope, straight into the crowd & injuring some poor member of the public to the extent they also got carted off in an ambulance, along with a few contestants of course.

    great day out that was.

  44. Haku

    That sucks :(

    I've been to it a few times over the years as I'm only about 7 miles away, some 20 years ago when I was a kid I once participated in the race _up_ the hill and that was tough enough.

    Real shame it became too popular, perhaps they should introduce it as a new 2012 Olympic event :D

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No sense of fun

    Bastards will be trying to ban Russian Roulette next.

  46. Anonymous Coward

    Council idiots

    Our local council is stuffed to the gills with retards (as is the case for local councils throughout the country). They are typical jobsworths in all areas, but particularly when it comes to health and safety.

    However, this doesn't stop them from making money every year by putting on an Airshow that allows a constant series of fighter jets to fly mere metres above the rooftops of houses in a densely populated area. Safety doesn't seem to be a consideration under those circumstances.

    Cheese rolling pales in comparison.

  47. jon 72
    IT Angle

    My first claim to fame..

    Was in the sizeable crowd way back when the BBC filmed 'In at the deep end' with a young Christopher Searle and appeared in the TV footage along with a gang of mates circa late 80's.

    Been down several times since, once even sober.

    The IT angle - you think they would have a better web site.

  48. Efros

    voluntary attempts at suicide

    With incidental entertainment for the masses should be encouraged not outlawed! How else would we have the skeleton, or motorcycle sidecar racing?

  49. Stewart Haywood

    @Andrew Oakley

    Isn't that somewhere near Easter Island?

  50. Andus McCoatover


    Seems like the cheese has really slid off their cracker...

    In Finland - part of Europe, therefore subject to European law, we have a wife-carrying competition*.

    Problem. Should "Elf and Safty" be appalled that anyone is allowed to carry more than 25Kg, which is the EU limit for a person to convey? (looters and burglars exempt, natch)

    Now, my Finnish missus is as thin as a rake, and weighs 65kg. If I carry her, will 'elf and softtbrain' fly to Finland to give me an unenforceable telling-off?

    * (she promises she won't eat beans before the event...)

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Maybe, like the hunt lobby, rather than a cheesy chase they can do a cheesy walk?

    A tethered cheese taken for a cheesy walk with the winner satisfying some criteria?


    best walk

    most elegant walk

    trendiest cheese with dullest walker

    trendiest cheese with trendiest walker




    and so on and so forth.

    You know what the killer is?

    UK local authorities have to uphold the Sustainable Communities Act.

    Sooooo ... any one local to the area might badger/complain/otherwise motivate said local authority under said Act.

    If transport is a region why the local authority might suggest spreading the venue over several fields , several villages and might even provide free transport between them.

    BTW: UK local authorities tend to be very well populated with numptiz at employee and elected member levels.

    Only a dullwit could have a suitable lack of nounce to end or breech a tradition such as that and the same dullwit will probably have the event in CV along with newspaper cuttings on the wall.

    There are alternatives, shame the motivators for ending are not equally motivated to make it happen (complain under Sustainable Communities Act dudes!)

    ps: might it not occur that effect of recession urm, ... cash crisis, ... urm ... financial sector putting the boot in , ... urm .. well, you know... might not downwardly influence numbers of people expected to visit?

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    For the poorly informed

    A quote from summary of Sustainable Communities Act:


    The aim of this section is to support local authorities, their partners and local people in their work to promote local sustainability. This provision will inform local authorities’ consultations with local people, strengthen local democracy and enhance the operation of the new Local Area Agreements by ensuring that there is greater accountability and transparency. We intend to ensure that local spending reports are closely linked with the regular and accessible information on local services that we have committed to provide for local communities.

    Local spending reports will enable local authorities, their partners and communities to take better informed decisions about the priorities they choose to pursue to promote the sustainability of their local community. They will also enable local people and local authorities to identify which functions (and funding) they might propose should be transferred from one body to another.

    Can't be bothered mentioning the source - it seems far too dull for sure babe.

  53. lucsan

    Freed Cheese

    This heralds a great day for cheese freedom, and end to 200 hundred years of abuse at the hands and mouths of the cheese eating surrender munchies and their unfeasibly fiendish cracker biscuits.

    Big smiley cheese icon.

  54. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Why not do it anyway?

    why don't you just roll chhese anyway? As has been said, it's public property, if someone happens to come out and roll cheese on bank holiday who's to stop them?

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Thanks for the long/lat dude

    51.831, -2.158

    It still begs the question about what local authority is doing to meet local initiatives in an accountable and sustainable manner.

    It looks as if the answer is: .... ?

    Does anyone have a link to the local council's accountability page that meets Sustainable Communities Act 2007?

    ps: thought not (pre-emptive but true?)

  56. Anonymous Coward



    I'm sick to death of these f**ktards. this country is no longer the great country it used to be.

  57. Steve Roper

    Reminds me of Ponde

    Ponde is a small place out the back of Adelaide that is miles from anywhere. The Hell's Angels own some land out there, around 10 km from the nearest habitation. Back in the 70s and 80s, every year the bike gangs would have a communal bash out there. It was the one time each year that the Hell's Angels, Gypsy Jokers, Warlords and Rebels would put their differences aside and go and party together. At any other time, they'd be shooting up each others' houses and running each other off the road - but Ponde was sacred.

    At first, it was just the bike gangs that went up there. Then their mates joined in, and their mates' mates, and the place became known as THE place to go for weed, hookers, hot bikes and loud music. It was where you went to meet dope dealers and hookers so you could score for the rest of the year. Live bikie bands, jam sessions, rides on Harleys, and the only people who ever got hurt up there were the ones who went to cause trouble. And the bikies dealt with the troublemakers very quickly and summarily. It was an awesome event, an archetypal sex'n'drugs'rock'n'roll free-for-all; everyone had fun, got drunk, stoned and laid, nobody got hurt, it was a chance for the gangs to settle their differences peaceably, and they bothered nobody.

    Then one year in the early 90's the pigs (that's police to the straightlaced) decided to interfere. After all, the word was that you could get weed and hookers up there, and what with the War On Drugs and the War On Sex and the War On Anything Remotely Enjoyable, that just Had To Stop. However, there were 4 cops. And around 8000 bikies. None of whom had any respect - or fear - of cops. I don't need to elaborate on the results. And since the place was 10km up a dirt road in the middle of nowhere, and the cops, bereft of vehicles and radios, had to walk^H^H^H^Hlimp all the way back into Ponde, it took the riot squad so long to arrive that the bikies had packed up and gone home before they got there.

    The next year the riot squad was ready. They busted everybody for drugs, prostitution, and started a massive riot that saw a number of pigs and bikies dead, all because they must needs Uphold The Law. Never mind that it was on private land, or that it inconvenienced nobody nearby, or that it was a social safety valve, or that there was never any trouble up there. They had Drugs And Sex, and that was just Not Allowed.

    After that the State Government stepped in and tried to turn it into a "family-friendly" music and bike festival. Forcing kids and families on everybody meant they all had to be on their Best Behaviour. No drunkenness, no swearing, no fun, and most definitely no drugs or sex. And lots of cops and sniffer dogs to make sure the Rules were Obeyed.

    It actually lasted in that form 2 years, then the bikies gave it up as a bad job. Since then the bike gang warfare in Adelaide has gotten much worse, because the gangs no longer have their safety valve. So now the gangs are being labelled "terrorists" and our city has been on the edge of outright warfare between them and the cops for the last 15 years. (Which, if you're wondering, is why Adelaide has the reputation of being the murder capital of the world.) All because a few interfering busybodies couldn't let sleeping dogs lie and leave them alone even just one weekend a fucking year.

  58. Psymon

    Next door to Roysten Vasey?

    This is a local event, for local people! There's no parking for you here!

  59. David Sidebotham
    Jobs Horns

    Where is the IT angle in this...

    ... unless it is the barcode on the cheese?

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @ David 12:15 GMT

    Posted in bootnotes dude.

    I think it is the anything goes here for sorta interesting stuff.

    You can tell it is posted in Bootnotes because just under the authors name there is a link on the word Bootnotes that, unsuprisingly, takes the clicker to Bootnotes sections.

    And lo! it is full of stuff

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