Boxing Day Games

The annual Boxing Day Games will be staged this year on Sunday 26 December. The Games, which start at 10.00 am and last for about 2 hours, will take place on the old cricket common in Cookham Dean. Organised by the Cherry Pickers of Cookham Dean, the event will consist of five silly games and a tug-of-war. The games will conclude with the ever popular obstacle race but the other four are kept secret until the day and changed annually. Held outdoors, the games will be planned to reduce contact and keep participants as safe as possible.

Teams consist of eight people and must be mixed with at least two being a different sex from the remainder. In recent years the maximum number of 16 teams have entered the games, representing pubs, clubs and groups of local residents. Entries can only be made on the day and cost just £30 per team. 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. Hot and cold drinks will be available to sustain both competitors and spectators.

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 history of the games goes back to 1970 when the Cherry Pickers (then the Kaffirs) organised the first Boxing Day football match between the local pubs to fund a Christmas party for the senior citizens of Cookham Dean. Today, the games are primarily for fun, but the event normally raises about £800 which helps support the Cherry Pickers current projects. This year, these will include contributing towards the local food bank, funding a further public access defibrillator for Cookham, making contributions to the local Air Ambulance, Thames Valley Adventure Playground, the local community allotment, Elizabeth House day centre for the elderly and a hamper lunch for those alone on Christmas Day. We are also supporting projects at several local Schools and providing events for local senior citizens.

For the last 47 years, the games have been Cookham Dean's answer to the nationwide habit of sport on Boxing Day and many people really appreciate the incentive to get out of bed and get active after an indulgent Christmas Day. In addition to about 150 competitors, around 300 supporters and locals turn out to watch the games before moving on to one of the local pubs for the traditional Boxing Day lunchtime. We know that some competitors who have spent Christmas Day with other parts of their family, drive over 100 miles to Cookham Dean on Boxing Day morning just to take part and some families now have their third generation of participants!

If you would like more information, give Peter a call on 07802 216241 or email him at