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Ashbourne Shrovetide Football
The Shrovetide football game is played with specially made balls - highly decorative and skilfully crafted.
The Shrovetide game ball is larger and heavier than a conventional football and, unlike its modern counterpart, is rarely kicked.
The hand-sewn, leather balls are filled with cork chippings (to help them float when they land in the River Henmore).
Balls are usually painted in a design relevant to the person turning up the ball - for example, in 2002 the ball was turned up by local man Simon Plumbly.
He was a member of the Thoroughbred Breeders Association and had a picture of one of his racehorses on the ball.
Prince Charles turns up a special ball
The balls are a real work of art and take about a month to paint.
If a ball is 'goaled', then it will become the proud possession of the person who has goaled it.
If no-one goals it, then the person named on the ball gets to take it home.
In 2003, Prince Charles received a special commemorative ball painted by Tim Baker. The ball used in the game was painted by Stuart Avery.
last updated: 31/12/2009 at 17:28