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Grantchester barrel-rolling fun helps burn off the Christmas excess


By Gemma Gardner


The barrel rolling races in Grantchester. Picture: Keith Heppell
The barrel rolling races in Grantchester. Picture: Keith Heppell

The annual event was a scene of mayhem, fancy dress and fast racing

Fierce competition - and plenty of fun - was in evidence at the barrel rolling in Grantchester. Picture: Keith Heppell
Fierce competition - and plenty of fun - was in evidence at the barrel rolling in Grantchester. Picture: Keith Heppell

Hundreds headed to Grantchester to cheer on the teams in the village’s traditional Boxing Day barrel race.

Spectators lined the streets for the festive event as teams did battle in a frantic relay.

The race, which involves rolling barrels along a 100-yard course in small teams of four, was first started in the 1960s and revived 14 years ago with great success.

Since its return the event has been organised by South Cambridgeshire district councillor Francis Burkitt.

The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell

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The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The barrel rolling races in Grantchester. Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell Fierce competition - and plenty of fun - was in evidence at the barrel rolling in Grantchester. Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell The Traditional Boxing Day Grantchester Barrel Rolling . Picture: Keith Heppell PIC BY GEOFF ROBINSON PHOTOGRAPHY 07976 880732. Picture shows competitors trying to control their barrel in the annual Boxing Day Barrel Race in the village of Grantchester near Cambridge.(Dec 26) Teams from the four local pubs compete, usually four at a time to roll the empty barrels up the main street as rapidly as possible without injuring the crowds of spectators who risk life and limb while screaming encouragement from behind a thin wall of straw bales. Cllr Francis Burkitt, organiser,said It started in the 1960s when drinkers from the four pubs in the village challenged each other to roll barrels on Boxing Day, and then lapsed in the late 1970s. We revived it in 2004. He added: Once again, practising is strictly forbidden, and any team caught training in any other manner than by standing at a bar and drinking, will be immediately disqualified with utter dishonour. PIC BY GEOFF ROBINSON PHOTOGRAPHY 07976 880732. Picture shows competitors trying to control their barrel in the annual Boxing Day Barrel Race in the village of Grantchester near Cambridge.(Dec 26) Teams from the four local pubs compete, usually four at a time to roll the empty barrels up the main street as rapidly as possible without injuring the crowds of spectators who risk life and limb while screaming encouragement from behind a thin wall of straw bales. Cllr Francis Burkitt, organiser,said It started in the 1960s when drinkers from the four pubs in the village challenged each other to roll barrels on Boxing Day, and then lapsed in the late 1970s. We revived it in 2004. He added: Once again, practising is strictly forbidden, and any team caught training in any other manner than by standing at a bar and drinking, will be immediately disqualified with utter dishonour. PIC BY GEOFF ROBINSON PHOTOGRAPHY 07976 880732. Picture shows competitors trying to control their barrel in the annual Boxing Day Barrel Race in the village of Grantchester near Cambridge.(Dec 26) Teams from the four local pubs compete, usually four at a time to roll the empty barrels up the main street as rapidly as possible without injuring the crowds of spectators who risk life and limb while screaming encouragement from behind a thin wall of straw bales. Cllr Francis Burkitt, organiser,said It started in the 1960s when drinkers from the four pubs in the village challenged each other to roll barrels on Boxing Day, and then lapsed in the late 1970s. We revived it in 2004. He added: Once again, practising is strictly forbidden, and any team caught training in any other manner than by standing at a bar and drinking, will be immediately disqualified with utter dishonour.

Money raised through a bucket collection will be donated to the High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire’s award scheme, which is managed by Cambridgeshire Community Foundation.

There were five races including a men’s, ladies’ and a mixed event, with four teams doing battle up and down Coton Road representing the village’s four pubs, the Rupert Brooke, the Blue Ball, the Green Man and the Red Lion. These races were followed by a family and friends race, two races titled ‘Next Generation vs Ambulance Men’ and ‘Strong Outdoor Men’ and an ‘honoured guests’ race, which featured teams from the neighbouring villages of Coton, Newnham, Impington and Trumpington.

Teams competed to roll the empty barrels as quickly as possible without injuring the crowds of spectators, who screamed encouragement from behind a wall of straw bales. Many competitors wore fancy dress as they worked off the excesses of Christmas dinner.

• Don’t miss our coverage in the Cambridge Independent, on sale from Wednesday December 27-Tuesday January 2.

• All of our images from the day will be available to browse and buy at photos.cambridgeindependent.co.uk.



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