“VITAL” volunteers are needed by Ashbourne’s Royal Shrovetide Committee to make sure this year’s game can go ahead.
A call for new recruits to the team of marshals for Shrovetide has gone out from the organising committee in a bid to ensure the continuance of Ashbourne’s historic game.
And, while acknowledging the need for more marshals on the team, the committee commended the work of Shrovetide stalwart, last year’s second Wednesday turner-up and longserving captain of the marshals, Jim Breeze, who has been ill in recent weeks.
Royal Shrovetide Committee secretary, Mick Betteridge, said: “We’d like to mention our captain of the marshals, Jim Breeze. He won’t be there this year as he is not well.
“The committee recognise his contribution to marshalling and the game itself.” Now the committee, along with members of the players committee and volunteers who have acted as marshals during previous games, have issued an appeal to potential marshals to join them at Ashbourne’s Ex-Servicemen’s Club On Thursday February 2 at 7pm.
Historically, marshals have played a crucial part in the Shrovetide game, last year receiving praise for quick-thinking and assertiveness, after spotting a spectator smoking a cigarette at a petrol station.
A teenager from the Uttoxeter was smoking near butane containers at Dove Service Station during Wednesday’s game last year when a Shrovetide marshal stamped out the cigarette and removed the boy from the premises.
Rachel Jarvis saw the incident last year as she walked through the service station with her young daughter Isobel. She said: “It was something that really could have been quite catastrophic if it hadn’t been for one of the marshals.” Marshals are an important component of keeping Shrovetide safe and work with police to ensure the tradition can go ahead each year.
Mr Betteridge added: “It is vital that we have this team of marshals because without them the game doesn’t go ahead.
“It is not just for people who don’t play any more, it is open to anyone and it doesn’t stop them playing.” Lunch tickets TICKETS for this year’s Shrovetide Luncheons, which will be held at Ashbourne’s leisure centre again this year, have all sold out - but names are being taken on a reserve list.
People can still apply for tickets until Wednesday February 1 but places are not guaranteed and will be allocated by secretary Mick Betteridge if they become available.
To apply to go on to the reserve list call Mr Betteridge after 5pm on 01335 342083 or email firstname.lastname@example.org