10:53AM, Thursday 30 December 2021
There was mud, sweat but no tears as the Cookham Dean Boxing Day Games returned for the first time since 2019 at the weekend.
Organisers said that the event went ‘remarkably well’ on what was a damp and muddy occasion, with 11 teams battling it out for the coveted ‘loo seat’ trophy.
Fundraising group The Cherry Pickers of Cookham Dean have been running the event in the village for nearly 50 years to help keep morale high after the festive season.
The event raises hundreds of pounds for the Cherry Pickers’ pick of causes, with this year’s funds helping organisations including Thames Valley Air Ambulance.
Games took place on the old cricket common in Cookham Dean, including the traditional tug-of-war, obstacle race and egg throwing contest.
There was also a blindfold race, a two-man wooden ski competition and the classic ‘dizzy race’ game, whereby competitors run the length of the course before swivelling ten times round a post, which makes the return leg a rather hazy one.
Organiser Peter Austen said that this year’s games took on added significance after its 2020 hiatus, with a quiz held around the village instead to conform to lockdown restrictions.
He added that more than £500 has been raised from the games to add to the £35,000 figure that has been clocked up by the Cherry Pickers over the past year.
“We were a little bit rusty but it all went remarkably well,” Peter said. “We had a good combination of old and new [teams].
“Last year it was not the same, so it was great to have the games back again. Everybody was really keen to get out on Boxing Day and they were raring to go.
“Our prime objective is to provide a fun event for the village, which we have been doing for 50 years.”
Team names took on a 2021 theme, with entrants including Pfizer Chiefs, but it was Moore the Merrier who took the loo seat.
A separate ‘loo lid’ trophy for the tug-of-war winners was claimed by The Reinbeers.