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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 May 2006, 15:18 GMT 16:18 UK
St John's ready for flying cheese
Racers chasing the cheese at the annual Cheese Rolling competition
Racers are injured every year - from bruises to broken bones
St John Ambulance volunteers are ready to tackle one of their most unusual duties on Monday - administering first aid to people injured by flying cheese.

Some 25 volunteers will be on duty at Gloucestershire's renowned Cheese Rolling competition at Cooper's Hill.

Each year thousands of people gather to watch others chase Double Gloucester cheeses down the hill.

Injuries can include cuts, grazes, bruises, broken bones and dislocations as well as head injuries.

It is undoubtedly one of the strangest duties we do every year

Jim Jones

The traditional event on Bank Holiday Monday can result in injuries to the crowds from flying cheese or to people chasing the giant cheese down the steep hill near Brockworth.

Every year, the team of St John Ambulance first aiders, doctors, nurses and ambulance crews treat around 35 injuries to spectators or to people who injured during the races.

"The hill is incredibly steep and people often injure themselves falling down the hill or get hit by a flying cheese as they watch the races," said Jim Jones, St John Ambulance operations training manager.

"It is undoubtedly one of the strangest duties we do every year."

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