Gloucestershire

Cotswold shin-kicking event cancelled due to 'dwindling numbers'

Two men compete at shin-kicking
Image caption Shin-kicking has been contested in the Cotswolds since 1612

An annual shin-kicking contest in the Cotswolds has been cancelled due to "dwindling numbers of attendees" and a lack of finance, it has been announced.

The sport has been practiced on Dover's Hill, near Chipping Campden, since 1612, and was due to be held on 2 June.

However, the organising committee said it had to cancel the event due to a struggle to recruit enough volunteers and insufficient funding.

Graham Greenall, chairman of the games, hopes it will take place again in 2018.

The 'Olimpick Games' were first held in Chipping Campden 400 years ago, with unusual sports including sack racing and tug of war.

Shin-kicking - which is the highlight of the spring bank holiday event - involves competitors kicking each other after stuffing their trouser legs with straw.

Image caption Shin-kicking is believed to have evolved from a form of Cotswold Wrestling

However, despite attracting more than 5,000 spectators in the past, organisers said it was with "much regret" they had to cancel this year's event.

"Dwindling numbers of attendees since the peak of 2012 and increasing requirements as far as health and safety is concerned, have meant that as it stands we don't have the money to continue past one year's games ," said Mr Greenall.

"We've decided rather than put on a half-cocked games [this year] we've decided to suspend it and begin a debate on the whole future of the games.

"And hopefully this ancient tradition can be saved, developed and brought back in 2018 on a stronger footing."

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