Next month is usually a hotspot of the social calendar – if you’re into cheese rolling, lawn mower racing and dancing around the May Pole. They were all due to take place in May, but sadly due to coronavirus have had to be cancelled or postponed. It’s not just shops and schools which have had to close down. You can’t really roll a cheese on a Zoom chat (although if anyone wants to volunteer to try we will sign up to watch. It’s not like there’s anything else going on.) We took a look at all the brilliant and bizarre events which the country will be missing out on due to coronavirus.
First up: The Worm Charming Championships. You’ve heard of trying to charm a snake, but did you know that each year, people gather to coax earthworms out of the ground? It’s a thing. And now you will not be able to go and spectate in this riveting – yet rather slow moving – contest.
Next: The Tweed Run This annual bike ride through central London sees people decked out in their finest tweed cycling in the capital. Why? Well, it’s better than the naked bike ride at least. It’s due to go ahead on May 2, but will have to be cancelled if the lockdown continues.
Lawn Mower Racing What is May without spring flowers and a spot of lawn mower racing (not together, obviously)? The Red Bull Cut It sees racers get up to speeds of 50mph, as they risk being bounced out of their seats. Sadly, there’s no event this year so you’ll have to just mow the lawn instead, if you are lucky enough to have a garden.
Cheese rolling Unfortunately, the cheese roll is too competitive to allow for proper social distancing as people hurtle down Cooper’s Hill in Brockworth, Gloucestershire. It has gone ahead since the 1800s but has been postponed due to Covid-19.
The Ely Hoop Trundle Pupils compete to roll a hoop on the east lawn of Ely Cathedral, to mark the founding of the school by King Henry VIII in 1541. As schools are closed, this will not be going ahead.
The Maypole Dancing around the Maypole has been a tradition in the UK for centuries, but with everyone putting their hands on the pole at the centre it is a potential risk for coronavirus. This year people will be keeping their hands to themselves and dancing at home.
The World Custard Pie Championship You didn’t even know this happened every year? For shame. Get more acquainted with this historic event. Essentially, people throw custard pies at one another with extra points if they hit rivals in the face. Organisers said: ‘As some of you may already know it is with great sadness that, due to the ongoing situation with coronavirus, and in line with the government advice, we have made the very tough decision to cancel this year’s competition. ‘Fear not though, we will be back next year, bigger, better and MESSIER than before. We are as disappointed as you, but rest assured we have more time now to make next year even better!’
Dragon Boat Regatta Every year in Gloucester around 30 teams battle it out and race across the historic docks in 40-foot dragon boats. Often they dress up for the occasion, such as a team of Where’s Wallies in 2018.
May Day Dip Plunging into the freezing North Sea at dawn on the first of May is said to promote good luck in exams at the University of St Andrews. Unfortunately, students may now have to rely on revising – if exams go ahead at all.
Bottle kicking match Every year, willagers from Medbourne in Leicestershire take on with neighbouring Hallaton in a bottle kicking match. Here they are parading the ‘bottle’ beforehand.
World Egg Throwing Championships There’s not a politician in sight for this lot, who throw eggs purely for the fun of it. Organisers said: ‘We are extremely sorry to be making this devastating decision and have been monitoring the news and advice continually. As the situation has unfolded and intensified we realise we have no alternative but to cancel.’