The Olympic Games 2012 is becoming a reality, with big buildings rising and tickets on sale .

Oop t'North, there is a danger of feeling disconnected from the event by distance and expense, but the Olympic organisers are trying to address the problem.


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Saturday, 21st May - Cumbria North Federation of Young Farmers Clubs' Field Day near Calthwaite
Saturday, 21st May - Sedbergh Gala U12/U15/U18/Girls/13St/AW











 An email from one of the organisers, Harry Pearson referred to:

".............. a project for the Cultural Olympiad in the North-East and Cumbria which has received an initial research grant from the 2012 Cultural Olympiad organization and proposes to revive the old fairground boxing booth and take it on a tour of agricultural shows across the region in the summer of 2012.

"The booth itself will be designed and decorated by a number of contemporary artists and shipped about in a decorated horsebox, which will also include a small museum exhibit of memorabilia relating to the history of fairground boxing booths. The booth will contain a regulation size boxing ring in which we are hoping, and this is why I am contacting you, to stage demonstrations of a variety of sports including boxing, but also fencing, kendo and many others. The ring will also be the venue for drama, dance and other cultural events. The idea is to take sport and the arts out into rural areas and entertain and inform the public about them. Obviously Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling is very much part of the agricultural show circuit already, but I wondered if there might be an opportunity for the sport to give demonstrations in the booth too - or even to use it as a little travelling museum."

One big advantage of this enquiry is that it comes from someone who knows our sport. Harry Pearson writes sports columns for the Guardian, but has also published a book, "North Country Fair" which has detailed visits to the likes of the Cumberland Show, the Roman Wall Show, Grasmere, Bellingham and Alwinton. The project is in its early development stages, but I am sure we could provide material for the museum element and wrestlers for the ring.

Last August, Daniel Robin, the main organiser of the wrestling events in the main Olympics, spent time with us at Bellingham and Grasmere, so there are signs that the old wrestling traditions of the host nation are not being ignored.

A few weeks ago British Vogue was showing interest in our traditional strips, and we arranged for samples to be sent to them. Now another London based magazine will have copy about our wrestling costumes. "The Lady Magazine" is an unlikely host for a wrestling related article, but I received an email from their picture editor saying that "Catherine Lock has written a piece for our 17th May issue of The Lady Magazine about British Crafts in which she talks about traditional wresting competition kit."

Meanwhile, back at the grass roots, the second event of the season takes place at Sedbergh Gala on Saturday 21st May. This seems to clash with the Young Farmers Field Day in North Cumbria which attracts a big field of novices and experts, but is a marked improvement on previous years when the South Cumbria YFC Field Day kept many of the Kendal wrestlers away from Sedbergh

Written by © Roger Robson. Photographs by © Roger Robson, Julian Richardson, Linda Scott & Roy Lomas © (May 13th 2011)

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