Derbyshire Dales District Council is proud to be playing its part in this year's Royal Shrovetide Football - including removing three tons of rubbish from Ashbourne's streets in the early hours of this morning.
It was a 4am start for the District Council's clean and green team after yesterday's first session between the Up'ards and Down'ards.
A team of five using a mechanical sweeper and pickup trucks moved in to ensure Ashbourne looked spick and span by 9am on day two – and it will be another 4am start tomorrow.
The District Council is also hosting the official Shrovetide Luncheons at our Ashbourne Leisure Centre for a fifth consecutive year - which means some disruption to usual timetables.
In years gone by the Royal Shrovetide game was preceded by a luncheon at the Green Man Hotel in the centre of the town, but five years ago when the Green Man closed the District Council recommended the Leisure Centre step in.
Chairman of the District Council's Environment Committee Councillor Steve Bull, who turned the ball up three years ago after playing Shrovetide for 29 years, said:
"I always say these are the most important two days in Ashbourne's calendar and a remarkable amount of work goes in to make Shrovetide happen.
"While the plaudits quite rightly go to the Shrovetide Committee, the District Council plays an increasingly important role and my thanks go to our clean and green workers who are up and about when most of us are tucked up in bed.
"Our leisure staff started preparatory work last Friday when the sports hall stores were cleared ready for the bars to be set up, and this was followed by carpet laying over the weekend, when they were joined by the Shrovetide Committee and volunteers to put up the decorations, flags, pictures and memorabilia, along with chairs and tables for 500 people.
"I have to say that since the leisure centre took over the lunches they have become bigger and better - the Sports Hall is transformed beyond recognition to seat 500 people for a three-course meal."
The Shrovetide ball is the "guest of honour" at the lunches, leaving the leisure centre at 1.45pm and paraded to the starting plinth at the District Council's Shaw Croft car park for a 2pm start.
Councillor Bull added:
"On Tuesday afternoon, leisure centre staff not involved in the game tidied and cleaned up ready for the same again on Wednesday. After Wednesday's lunch, everything will be taken down, put away and cleaned up ready for re-opening of the leisure centre for business as usual on Thursday morning."
- The District Council also extends the opening hours of its public loos in Ashbourne for both Shrovetide days. They were supposed to close at 9.30pm on Shrove Tuesday, but stayed open long after that to cope with demand!