Famed Boxing Day Games afoot in Cookham after year-long break

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams


The annual Boxing Day Games in Cookham is set to go ahead this year – with five ‘silly games’ and a tug-of-war.

The games will go ahead ‘whatever the weather’, making up for a hiatus last year due to COVID.

Organised by charity fundraisers The Cherry Pickers of Cookham Dean, the 47-year-old event will conclude with the ever-popular obstacle race.

But the other four events – which change each year – will remain a secret until the day.

The winners will take home the prestigious ‘loo seat’ trophy which carries shields representing the winners over more than 30 years.

There is a separate ‘loo lid’ trophy for the tug-of-war.

Organiser Peter Austen said: “After a year off, when the games were replaced with a quiz walk on Boxing Day, we are looking forward to an exciting and entertaining games fought in their normal highly competitive but not-too-serious fashion.

“We have some special games in reserve in case there is snow on the ground – so we will go ahead, whatever the weather. We have some new twists on some of our old games so expect some extra fun this year.”

The event normally raises about £800 to help support the Cherry Pickers’ current projects.

This year, funds will help the food bank, Thames Valley Air Ambulance and Thames Valley Adventure Playground.

Other beneficiaries include the community allotment and Elizabeth House day centre for the elderly.

Money will also go towards a public-access defibrillator in Cookham and a hamper lunch for those alone on Christmas Day.

Typically there are about 150 competitors and around 300 supporters and spectators.

The Cherry Pickers say that some residents drive more 100 miles back to Cookham Dean after Christmas with family elsewhere, just to take part.

Some are now into their third generation of participants.

The games will start at 10am and last for about two hours on Sunday, December 26.

They will take place outdoors on the old cricket common in Cookham Dean.

In recent years the maximum number of 16 teams have entered the games, representing pubs, clubs and groups of local residents.

Teams consist of eight people and must be mixed – at least two must be a different sex from the remainder (e.g. six women and two men).

The games will be planned to reduce contact and keep participants as safe as possible.

Entries can only be made on the day and cost £30 per team.

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