WITH less than a week before the start of Ashbourne Royal Shrovetide Football 2012, organisers of the annual tradition have issued a warning to townsfolk.
A list of guidelines to help people remain safe while watching or playing Shrovetide have been issued in a bid to keep people safe during what is traditionally a fast-moving and sometimes rough game.
Chairman of the Royal Ashbourne Shrovetide Committee, Brell Ewart, said: "The committee and players, and all supporting organisations, such as the police want everyone to enjoy Shrovetide.
"But please remember that it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure the continuation of our treasured game.
"A few headlines have been denoted to guide everyone in this aim." A team of volunteers will be acting as marshals throughout the game in a bid to ensure spectators are as safe as possible, while co-ordinating with police officers and players to deal with any minor incidents which may arise.
Shrovetide secretary, Mick Betteridge, said: "Unless we do respect these places where we are not to go, and we do respect people's property and possessions, it puts the game a risk, not least because damage to cars can be very very expensive.
"It is the supporters' and people of the Ashbourne community's responsibility to ensure that the fame continues.
"They have to be vigilant in respect of any damage." The annual Shrovetide game will begin on Tuesday, February 21 at 2pm, when the first ball will be turned up by Dr Paul Kirtley.
*Players and spectators will also join for the first time at St OSwald's Church on Sunday for a service dedicated to the Shrovetide game. The two balls painted in honour of turners-up Dr Kirtley and Councillor Steve Bull, will be blessed at the service which begins at 4pm.
The guidelines issued by the committee are:
Safety: • Children to be supervised by parents orresponsible adults. Special care is to be taken of children in pushchairs.
• In the event of a child being lost report this to a marshal, police officer or member of the committee.
• Please heed the advice of the players and marshals who may give direction for the benefit of the game. Marshals are working closely with the police.
• Discourage youngsters from climbing on roofs or up trees.
• The police will manage all vehicular traffic through the town during the game.
• Some roads will have rolling road closures and others restricted parking.
In the event of an injury to anyone or a serious incident please contact any of the marshals, committee, St John’s Ambulance, or police who will co-ordinate the necessary action.
Areas of play: • Prohibited areas for play will be denoted by the chairman from the plinth on each occasion before the game starts.
• Please keep out of private property and people’s gardens and respect other people’s property at all times. General: • Any malicious damage or violence to be reported to police, marshals, committee and if possible recorded.
* The ball is not to be carried by any motorised vehicles and motorised vehicles do not have any part to play in the game.