Volunteers at the Cotswold Olimpick Games

Volunteers Evening

On June 3rd 2022, the Games will return to Dover’s Hill after three very long years.

The event and all the great stuff alongside it, requires a band of enthusiastic volunteers to ensure everything runs smoothly. Whether it’s selling tickets, helping set-up on the hill, being a fire marshal or one of the myriad other tasks, willing participants are always in demand.

To kick-start our recruitment for the 2022 Cotswold Olimpicks, we’re hosting a Volunteers Evening 7pm Monday 11th April @ The Lygon Arms

Food and refreshments will be provided for all attendees, so why not skip dinner, come on down and discover how you can help us deliver a spectacular comeback!

Olimpick Games Sadly Cancelled

2021 Games cancelled

I hope you are keeping well, staying safe and managing to retain your sanity as we enter the second year of the pandemic. It has been such a difficult time for everyone and hopefully there are brighter days to come once the vaccine roll-out program has taken effect and the seasons heat up. If we could have March weather like 2020 that would do very nicely.Read more

Scuttlebrook Carnival Queen

A Cultural History Project for 2021

As I mentioned last month, I wanted to introduce the ‘The 2021 Project’ to you all. We began discussing it in 2019 (believing that to be plenty of time!) and subsequently started meetings with relevant parties and even applied for some funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which seemed to be going really well. Fast forward to Spring 2020 and we were faced with no games, a cancelled funding application and not much of an idea of when normality might resume. Nobody really knows whether or not we’ll be able to host the games again next year, but we can certainly crack on with the 2021 Project.

It is an art, history & cultural project so named because 2021 will mark the last revival of Dover’s Games. Back in 1951, the year of the Festival of Great Britain, it was staged by the Scuttlebrook Wake committee as part of the week-long Whit week celebrations, it was the first time this had happened since the cessation of the games in 1852 when the land was partitioned between farmers and landowners as part of the Enclosures Act. The Robert Dover’s Games Society was established in 1965 as a separate committee and the event has been held continuously ever since (with a few forced breaks).

Times – and Chipping Campden – have changed since then and the need to document the modern history of Dover’s Games and Scuttlebrook is more important than ever, so that both events may endure for many years and generations can add to the story each year.

The first stage of the project was begun in 2019 and hopes to capture as many people as possible in picture, video and audio, that have been involved with Dover’s Games and Scuttlebrook Wake over the last seventy years. So far we have many Robert Dovers and Endymion Porters, we have a couple of Scuttlebrook Queens, we have John Robbins who was involved in the 1951 games and still farms the hill today and many more. But we know there are scores, probably hundreds of people yet to capture, each of whom have a story to tell.

Another part of the project which we were able to get started was the brand-new award which is a beautiful silver replica of the market hall, given to us this year by Bill Buckland in memory of his mother and wife and awarded for “The Spirit of Dover”. It was awarded for the first time this year to The Campden Hub who sprung into action during the first lockdown. Hopefully this will be on display at some point in the near future for all to see.

So if you would like to know more, get involved, suggest a person, place or event or even if you have any fascinating memorabilia from the last seventy years of either event, we’d love to hear from you. Work will re-commence on the project in January 2021 and hopefully we can create something educational, inspiring and useful. To subscribe to our mailing list, please visit the homepage and sign up.

In the meantime let’s hope for a better 2021, stay safe, look after each other and have a wonderful festive season.

November 2020 Newsletter

The Future of Dover’s Games and Scuttlebrook Wake

On reading the title you may well wonder why we’re writing at all given the year we’ve all had and the perilous situation that many entertainment businesses find themselves in. We weren’t able to put on an event this year and, as I write this, next year is already looking doubtful.

Well, we’ve kept busy anyway. The lockdown and the general hardship of 2020 has taught me that Dover’s Games & Scuttlebrook Wake are about so much more than just one weekend of the year. On the face of it, they are just two events on one weekend after Whitsun, but for me and those in the people that help to stage the events, they are the subject of regular pub chat, emails and 2am text messages about ‘a new idea for next year’. I now know that it’s the same for our friends on the Scuttlebrook Wake committee too. Both are generations old and it’s up to us to ensure they are here for generations to come.

An Opportunity To Collaborate

Since I became chairman of the RDGS in 2017 I have always maintained a connection with Scuttlebrook Wake and my opposite number at SBW has done likewise. I have wondered about how we could work more closely in the future, as has happened in years gone by (The last games revival in 1951 was done by the Scuttlebrook committee and Dover’s Games only became a separate committee proper in 1965).

From the outside, the two events seem like they are one entity and you would have regularly seen the same people playing sports on the hill as you would on the back of a float the next day. Similarly, our in our annual post event survey (set up for us by the gentleman Simon Ashworth, who sadly passed away this year) people have always asked this same question.

There is no one answer, really. These things go in cycles and the two events have co-existed – however they were organised – successfully for many years, creating many wonderful memories along the way. But times change – as we have found out all to well this year! And as Albert Einstein remarked “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

The first opportunity was the chance to sit down with Paddy, the chairman of Scuttlebrook Wake and chat at great length over many ales, in the Eight Bells, The Volunteer, The Lygon and The Red Lion – we don’t like to be exclusive - about how the future looks for both events. Quite simply, we agreed from the off that the future lies in uniting the two events so that both can succeed in the future.

It’s not that both have suffered so that they need the other one, it’s because everyone holds both events dear and both events are uniquely Campden. From digital meetings, to our Spring video on the hill, the Campden Tablet and the Spirit of Dover award we unveiled this year – things are moving on and our aim is to move on, together. Not just to preserve these fabulous traditions of rural life, but to enable them to flourish, for centuries to come. To do that will take teamwork, the sharing of ideas and also costs and manpower.

Sending Our Best Wishes to People & Businesses

Many of the people and companies we have come to rely on to stage the games may not exist next year. Businesses who rely on their summers being filled with festivals and their winters with concerts, markets and Christmas events – it’s almost all been wiped out this year. To our many, regular service providers, I’d like to send a heartfelt thank you and best wishes for the future. Businesses like Clearsound, from Shipston, who have put on such an amazing audio visual display the last few years and invest so much time and money in their skills and equipment. The showmen and women who bring the fair rides to the square and have done for decades, the dance troupes, the bands and display teams too many to list here – none of them have ever experienced this before and I sincerely hope they are able to come through it and join us again.

2020 Games Cancelled

Dear Olimpick Friends,
It is with regret that we have taken the decision to officially cancel the 2020 edition of Robert Dover’s Cotswold Olimpick Games, due to be held on Friday 29th May 2020.

We have not taken the decision lightly, but in light of official government advice it would be reckless to jeopardise our community’s safety by putting extra pressure on the general infrastructure, closing roads and inviting thousands of people into the town - carrying on as normal is not an option.

We expect there to be an official ban on large gatherings anyway and with the games only ten weeks away it makes sense for us to take this action now.

We realise that waiting for an official ban may or may not recoup some of the deposits we have paid to performers etc. but we feel that it would not be in “the Spirit of Dover” to wait for this.  Our finances are in good shape thanks to the hard work of the committee and our fundraising team and the entertainment industry needs our support now more than ever.  As they say, what goes around comes around.

We hope to be able to do something else later in the year – we’re not sure what yet as that depends on the conclusion to the pandemic, but keep watching our website (a brand new one is imminent) and follow us on social media for more information.

Remember, the shields are still on sale at Toke’s Food & Drink so if you’re looking for something to do while stuck indoors – there’s no reason we can’t all be painting shields!

Thank you for your understanding and support and take care of each other.

Kind regards,

Tom Threadgill
Robert Dover’s Games Society

Volunteers at the Cotswold Olimpick Games

Welcome to the 2020 Games Year

Robert Dover’s Cotswold Olimpick Games 2020

This year, The Games falls on Friday 29th May, with gates opening at 5pm. There are a few exciting additions this year which we’d like to mention briefly here, but you will be able to find out more about when we officially launch the games in early March.

A New Award to recognise Outstanding Community Contribution

Firstly, the Robert Dover’s Games Society, who organise The Games are delighted to be able to present a brand new award. It has been kindly donated by Campden resident Bill Buckland, in honour of his wife and his mother. Its full title will be “The Agnes and Jill Buckland award for the “Spirit of Dover “. It is a beautiful silver replica of the market Hall, created by Harts.

This award will be presented to an individual or group who has best embodied the Spirit of Dover, according to a panel of judges chosen by the RDGS. If there is someone or a group who you feel has made a contribution to local society which is “above and beyond” in their benefit to the local community, we would love to hear from you. In no more than 500 words, please tell us who you think should receive the award and why. Nominees must be from within a 5 mile radius of the market hall in Chipping Campde. The inaugural winner will be announced at Scuttlebrook Wake.

You can nominate someone in writing c/o Toke’s Food and Drink, High Street, Chipping Campden, GL55 6AG or email us at: info@olimpickgames.co.uk. Don’t forget to include your contact details.

Let’s Brighten up the town with the One Hundred Shields Competition

We have been working with our friends at Scuttlebrook Wake this year on many joint projects, one of which is a plan to bring some more colour to the town over the weekend of the two events. To do this, we have created the One Hundred Shields Competition. We’ve created 100 shield templates to be decorated in any way you like – as long as it’s weatherproof – and these will be displayed on the hill at the games, and during Scuttlebrook the next day where a winner will be chosen. The main point though, is to have some fun and bring extra colour to this already beautiful town of ours. They are sturdy wooden templates, primed and ready to paint (or whatever you choose).

We will be sharing more details soon on Facebook and our website. Each shield is £5 for individuals and £10 to a group or business (they cost us about £3 for materials and our very own Ray Lloyd makes them in his own time). There is no limit to the number of shields anyone can make, and the theme of your design is totally up to you. The shields can be purchased from Toke’s food and Drink on the High Street from 1st March.

Scuttlebrook Races are Moving

Our friends at Scuttlebrook have decided that the children’s races which have been held for many recent years on the Friday evening, will now move to Scuttlebrook Saturday at 1800. Hopefully this will mean that there is no conflict between any events in which people wish to participate and families are able to enjoy everything which the weekend offers. (We hope someone is planning to do the “Campden Grand Slam” – A Shield entered, visiting the Games and returning with a torch, creating or being on a float and taking part in or cheering on the races!!)

Thanks to everyone who gets involved

There are many people who make this weekend possible – the two organising committees and all of the volunteers who come out to put on the events. I speak for both organising groups when I say we can never have too many volunteers and if you’re interested please get in touch with us at info@olimpickgames.co.uk

I believe it’s worth mentioning the actions of Edward Landseer Griggs, local artist and etcher. In 1926 he bought Dover’s Hill at auction and was in debt for several years afterwards. If you have ever walked across the hill and admired the view, it’s Griggs you have to thank.

Last but certainly not least, my personal thanks and those of the RDGS are always extended to the National Trust and John Robbins esq. Without their permission and year-round work in looking after the hill we simply couldn’t hold The Games.

See you on the hill!

Tom Threadgill
RDGS Chairman

Cotswold Olimpick Games Merchandise

How Much Do the Cotswold Olimpicks Cost?

It is said that in 1612 Robert Dover borrowed £10,000 from Sir Baptist Hicks - Campden's famous benefactor - to stage the first games. We don't know how much of that he actually spent on the event itself, and that event would have been a much longer, more elaborate affair - the Jacobean equivalent of a modern day festival. But still, it's a huge amount of money by today's standard - over £1m 😳

Robert Dover's Olimpick Games now cost around £25,000 to stage each year, with the split being roughly £15k on essentials and £10k on entertainment.

It is run and managed year-round by a small working committee and on the night, put on by a small army of busy volunteers, nearly all of whom are from Campden and surrounding villages. (We'll talk more about those wonderful folk in later posts.)

We raised in the region of £6,000 this year through various events in the town, and the sheer generosity of people and businesses. In addition to the modest success of the 2018 event, it amounted to a healthy balance sheet.

In order to try and protect the future of the games and promote the history of the event, we are always looking at how to complement the fundraising by finding independent revenue in ways that don't over commercialise, but help bolster the coffers in case of unforeseen events. It also allows us to bring more unusual, entertaining events to the hill each year.

This is still very much a local, community-driven and focused event, but when people hear the cost, some baulk at it. The reality is that to stage a fun, safe event on open land in 2019 is simply quite an expensive job, just to get the basics done!

If you've been reading previous posts, you'll know that we've been working to create a design specific to this year's event. Well it wasn't just a vanity project - thank heavens for that, I hear you cry!

We've created a simple, unique range of merchandise to buy on the night of the games. Numbers are limited and we won't show you everything now, but we wanted to give you a sneaky peek at what you can expect.

The team have worked really hard on this project and if people buy them, it will - on its own - fund nearly half of next year's games. We'll also be able to take card payment on-site this year, for the first time, which will hopefully help. Keep following us for more build-up and share our posts as much as you can - we're extreeeeemely grateful!

Thanks for reading!

The Robert Dovers Games Society.

Chipping Campden Market Hall Appeal

Those of you who live in Chipping Campden will have seen that shortly after the Whitebeam tree fell over, the Market Hall was accidentally damaged. There is now an appeal you can donate to in order to repair this stunning ancient building.

Robert Dover's Games Society (the gang of reprobates who try and run this thing) were delighted with the resurgence of the 2018 games and equally pleased that we're able to donate £300 to the fund. If you'd like to do so, you can donate by following the link below.

Donate Here

The Cotswold Olimpicks What To Bring...

As the 1st of June approaches make sure you've packed the essentials....

Event Passes - You can get these online, from Tokes Food & Drink in the High Street from now until Thursday 31st May. from the Ticket Stall in the Town Square on the day of our event or at the gate. If you’re planning on arriving via our Official Shuttle Busses you will need to pre-purchase your shuttle tickets from the Town Square on the day.

Cash - Some food suppliers on the hill may be able to take card payments but the purchase of passes, bus tickets and the traditional children's games is cash only. PLUS we are raising funds to ensure the continuation of The Games so if you see on of our Yellow Collection Buckets then please give generously!

Blanket and Sensible Footwear - Dover's Hill is grazing land which belongs to the National Trust but has been farmed by the Robbins Family since 1860. The Robbins’ flock of sheep are lucky enough to call Dover’s hill their home and they very kindly vacate the area every time we hold our event. If your're walking up there and back with the torch-lit procession back down into the town afterwards you will want to leave the Laboutins at home.

Picnic - You shouldn’t really need to bring food onto the hill, our line up of caterers this year is set to be scrumptious. But if you do bring your own food please ensure you take your rubbish home or dispose of it responsibly in the litter bins provided.

Camera - there will be lots of photographic opportunities at our event and we would love for you to capture them, for your memories and of course to share with us if you so wish! This year our officail hashtag is #DOVERS2018

Warm Jumper / Jacket - Even on warm days it can get quite chilly up on the hill, especially as the sun goes down.

Umbrella - this will of course only be needed to shade you from the sun. You won’t require it for any other weather conditions because it’s not going to r… (fingers crossed)

Leave no trace - When The Cotswold Olimpicks come to a close on the hill, it's important to take home everything you brought with you, or dispose of items you do not want in the correct way by using the litter bins provided.

Just A Few Days To Go Until The Games & Some More Thank Yous...

Well, here we are, a few days away from the games and there is a handful of people still running around trying to ensure that everything is in place. It's so exciting I can hardly wait, but wait we have to! There are so many thank yous and mentions that I'm not sure a blog post will be long enough but we'll give it a go - there will be more to follow too...

We'll start with the horse-riders. This year, Robert Dover will be played by Paul Dare and Endymion Porter by Gillian Carr. They are both experienced riders and Paul has played Endymion many times before. I'm not sure but I think that this might be the first recorded time that Endymion Porter has been played by a woman, so there are two firsts. (somebody who's been to many more games may be able to correct me on that one!) Their costumes have been lovingly made by Barbara Williams of Darlingscott and their hats equally so by Louise Pocock who is our local milliner with shop on Campden High Street. Finally, the wonderful horses will be provided by "Force of Nature" Joan Bomford, once again, of Moyfield Riding School, Littleton. So, just in talking about the horses, we've had volunteers from three counties already! A huge thank you to you all.

I've mentioned in previous posts about the money needed to put on these games and to cover the essentials like security, toilets, PA, stages etc etc - the list seems to grow month on month! But in modern times this kind of thing really can't be done without the help of local businesses. We have taken a different tack from previous years, by asking just a couple of sponsors to help out in return for being the sole advertisers. This year we have been extremely grateful to Hayman-Joyce estate agents, who have supported us from very early on and enabled us to

renew so much of what needed replacing; things like the shinkickers' smocks, the volunteers high viz among othe

Next we move on to the beer of the games. We are lucky enough to have a trip of brewers among us! The Brotherhood Brewery are from Campden and have created Shinkicker Beer just for this event. Money from each pint goes straight to putting the games on next year so - as they say at Brotherhood - "Drink Up Old Boy" and help keep the games alive! Of course, we couldn't sell this stuff without the willing hostelries... so take a bow The Volunteer Inn, The Eight Bells, The Noel Arms, The Baker's Arms and The Plough at Stretton.

Toke's food and drink have kindly sponsored the band in the Square and will also be playing some live funk on the lawn outside their shop on the High Street, after Scuttlebrook Wake on Saturday 2nd June.

Shuttlefish Creative of Alderminster have provided all of the marketing and design for this year's event and have covered the printing of all the leaflets and posters you've seen about. Thank you to the staff there who were essentially press-ganged into helping out by me - love you guys ;-) You'll also see The Shuttlefish tuk tuk pootling around the site on Friday and ferrying the lucky Facebook competition winners up the hill.

There will be more thank yous as there are so many people and businesses that have been involved, so watch this space. Also, immediately after the games we'll be asking what you thought, via a specially commissioned survey. If you've been following us this year you'll know that most of us are new to this game, so we need your help to know where we've got it right and where there is room for improvement.

Speak soon Shin Kickers.