Belfast Telegraph

Cheese chaser a champion again - but he still has no taste for Double Gloucester

Champion chaser Chris Anderson left daredevil challengers trailing in his wake as he won the annual Cheese Rolling again.

The 28-year-old has now won the 8lb Double Gloucester an incredible 17 times - and he still does not like cheese.

The soldier raced down Cooper's Hill in Gloucestershire like a rocket to win the first two races of the world-famous event.

Mr Anderson, who serves with 1 Rifles, dedicated the race and Double Gloucester in memory of his friend Izzy John, a champion cheese roller himself.

"It's brilliant, I'm really happy. My friend Izzy John sadly passed away recently so this is for him and his family. He won it multiple times," he said.

"Cheese rolling is really important to Brockworth. It got cancelled in 2009 and the organisers this year have done a brilliant job and I'm really happy to win it for the community."

Explaining his winning technique, Mr Anderson said: "I try and get the same sort of line and try and do the same sort and thing and win."

Some competitors travelled from across the world to take part in the series of madcap races, which attracted TV crews from around Europe, while t housands of people lined the course to watch.

Rebel cheese rollers have been staging their own unofficial event after health and safety fears caused the official competition to be cancelled in 2010.

The cheese is chased 200 yards down the 1:2 gradient Cooper's Hill at Brockworth.

After a year's hiatus - when police warned against the use of a real cheese - the imitation lightweight foam cheese was binned in favour of the genuine article.

Long-time cheese-maker Diana Smart and her son Rod, who have produced cheese for the chase for more than 25 years, once again provided the wheels for this year's event.

Four cheeses weighing about 3kg each and three smaller ones, weighing about 1.5kg, are used.

The unusual event has been celebrated for centuries and is thought to have its roots in a heathen festival to celebrate the return of spring.

The official event was cancelled after more than 15,000 people turned up as spectators to watch the 2009 competition.

Since then it has been held unofficially with the police keeping a watchful eye.

Local roads have been closed up to two-and-a-half miles around the slope.

Warning signs were put up near the route warning spectators and competitors they were attending entirely at their own risk.

The women's race was won by Flo Early, 25, who first won as a teenager in 2008.

She only decided to take part this year at the last minute having been in hospital earlier this week with a kidney infection, and she was still suffering from a sore arm caused by a drip.

"I just got here and they said it was the girls' race, so I decided to take part," she said.

"I've just come out of hospital and I'm not meant to be doing this. I can't use my right arm. My mum would be furious if she knew."

Miss Early, who currently lives in Berlin, had returned to her family in Stroud for her brother's 30th birthday.

"It's pretty good to win and I like a bit of cheese," Miss Early said.

Explaining her cheese-winning tactics, she added: "What was going through my mind? It really hurts and I don't know what my body looks like.

"Don't run, just fall, just go really, really fast. Don't try and stay up, just go like you are running a sprint.

"Don't try and have a technique."

The third men's race was won by Ryan Fairley, 26, from Brockworth, who has now won four years on the trot.

"I'm getting old now. I'll be back next year and it's my mate's dad this cheese is donated to," Mr Fairley, who was limping, said.

"It's the buzz of getting to the bottom. I've got to get me knee checked out.

"One more year then I'll retire."


From Belfast Telegraph