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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 May, 2003, 13:01 GMT 14:01 UK
Cheese rolling cancelled
Cheese rollers
Injuries previously caused have been a source of concern
Gloucestershire's annual cheese-rolling contest has been cancelled because the safety team is still in Algeria in the aftermath of the earthquake.

Members of Gloucester-based Rapid UK - the rescue team which usually provides safety cover at the Bank Holiday Monday competition - have been searching for survivors of the disaster.

The traditional event involves scores of people chasing a seven-pound Double Gloucester 200 yards down a steep slope near the town.

Thousands gather to watch the spectacle, which has taken place most years for the past two centuries.

Knocked unconscious

Tony Tizard, chairman of the organisers, said: "We are very disappointed to have to cancel at the last minute.

"St John Ambulance have also had to withdraw their services because without the extra cover from Rapid UK, they can't rescue anyone from the slope.

"Although they can provide cover at the bottom of the hill, their insurance does not cover them to rescue off the hillside," he added.

There have been previous attempts to ban the cheese-rolling race because of the number of injuries.

Last year's winner had to be taken to hospital after being knocked unconscious.

In past years when the event has been cancelled people have still taken part - but without anyone there to look after safety.

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