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Ashbourne Shrovetide Football - the balls

Shrovetide ball
Ashbourne Shrovetide balls are specially made each year

The Shrovetide game ball is larger and heavier than a conventional football and, unlike its modern counterpart, is rarely kicked.

The hand-sewn, balls are made from three pieces of cow hide filled with cork chippings (to help them float when they land in the Henmore).

Balls are usually painted in a design relevant to the person turning up the ball - for example, in 2002 the ball was turned up by local man Simon Plumbly.

He was a member of the Thoroughbred Breeders Association and had a picture of one of his racehorses on the ball.

John Harrison
John Harrison has made Shrovetide balls for more than 20 years

The balls are a real work of art and take about a month to paint.

If a ball is 'goaled', then it will become the proud possession of the person who has goaled it.

If no-one goals it, then the person named on the ball gets to take it home.

In 2003, Prince Charles received a special commemorative ball painted by Tim Baker. The ball used in the game was painted by Stuart Avery.

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