Cask Race #3

The Worshipful Company of Coopers held its third Annual Cask Race in Guildhall Yard on 8th June 2024.  Planning started early in the year with other Livery Companies, businesses in the City, with our military and uniformed affiliates and the Coopers’ Company & Coborn School all entering teams.  

21 teams entered as follows:

City of London and North East Army Cadets (two teams)
Glovers’ Company (Air Cadets)
Innholders’ Company
Society of Coopers
Coopers’ Company
Coopers’ Company & Coborn School 6th Form
Coopers’ Company & Coborn School staff
Coopers’ Company & Coborn School alumni
Merchant Taylors’ Company
Pollinating London Together
St John Ambulance Medical Response Team (MRT)
Guild of Young Freemen
Constructors’ Company Apprentices
Constructors’ Company
Household Cavalry Regt A Squadron
HMS President
Firefighters’ Company
Educators’ Company
Gunmakers’ Company
Murray Birrell

As well as entering a team, The Guild of Young Freemen provided splendid marshalling support and our affiliate St John Ambulance Medical Response Team was on hand in Guildhall Yard ready for in the event of medical attention being required.  Journeyman Cooper Euan Findlay assisted with transporting the racing casks from Yorkshire to the Yard (36 gallon barrels for the main racing; 4 ½ gallon pin casks used in the Mini Coopers children’s race).

We are again, extremely grateful to Jensen’s Cooperage for the provision of the wooden casks for our racing.  Again, these stood the hard test of rolling across the yard at pace throughout the morning!

The race was started promptly at 9.30am by Lord Mayor Alderman Michael Mainelli who was accompanied by the Lady Mayoress.  

A disciplined Liam Randall, acting as Race Referee, kept teams firmly in their places prior to each race starting.  Teams commenced racing in their teams of four, three lanes for each race, in three pools of seven teams.  Everyone put in their best efforts despite the barrels frequently having a mind of their own and being slightly difficult to tame!  As always, chief of the organising committee, Liveryman Alan Roberts, did a sterling job as MC with his commentary and ensuring teams were in the right place ready for their heats.  Once the heats were over, the winners of each pool, the Army Cadets, Coopers’ Company and Coopers’ Company & Coborn School 6th Form racing off in the Final.  If you watch the video, you will see a pretty close race!  Euan came prepared with tools and repaired any loose hoops between races!

Last year the competition was won by the Merchant Taylors.  However, this year they competed valiantly but failed to win their pool.

The top three were Coopers’ Company (winner), Coopers’ School 6th Form (runners up) and the Army Cadets (third place).  The winning team from the Coopers comprised; Euan Findlay, Christian Kitley, Nick Pontt and Daniel Thornley.  All finalists were presented with a Cooper Company pint beer glass with the winning team being presented with a case of Hook Norton Ale and the coveted Mini Wooden Cask Trophy.

Master Elect, Leigh Johnson, supported the event on behalf of the Company and presented rosettes to every participant and presented the prizes to the winning teams

The video of the final

We had several ‘Mini Coopers’ taking part in their own race and receiving a rosette as a prize!

We were delighted to have teams this year from four of our affiliates, along with other livery companies joining for the first time this year.  We are very grateful to the support we also received from the COLNES Army Cadets who also provided some splendid bugling to signify the start of races, and the MRT on standby to deliver first aid.  

We thank the following who sponsored the event:-

•    Hook Norton Brewery
•    Jensen’s Cooperage
•    Findlay Cooperage
•    Grant Thornton

The event took place in the splendid setting of Guildhall Yard at the agreement of Guildhall and the Remembrancer’s Office which was a terrific assistance in setting the event up with us.
The race organising committee comprised Alan Roberts, Alistair Hutchinson, Liam Randall, Christian Kitley, Nick Pontt, Chris Monk, and Chris Todd. This event takes months of planning as well as delivery of the race equipment into Guildhall Yard together with its return.

Thanks also to the Company Clerk, his staff and to Helena Cooke, Nicola Fyfe and Samantha Conlon who manned the information & merchandise area.  We are also grateful to Laura Miller for taking photos on the day and Samantha Conlon for the video of the final.

If you were a participant and would like to see and download relevant photos from race day, please email events@cooperscompany.co.uk with confirmation of your team name.