No greasy pole for historic Corby fair due to health and safety concerns

Plans have been scuppered

Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 1:55 pm

Corby’s much-anticipated Pole Fair will not feature the greasy pole challenge after health and safety concerns scuppered plans.

Traditionally fair-goers take turns to climb the greased telegraph pole to win a prize at the top, with the most nimble reaching the joint of ham.

But organisers have failed to find an insurance company to cover the risk of the pursuit at the event on Friday, June 3.

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Corby Pole Fair - a visitor attempts the greasy pole

A spokesman for the Pole Fair said: “Unfortunately, due to the changing health and safety regulations, we are unable to have people climb the pole this year. We’ve tried our best over the last six months to make the greasy pole happen in its traditional format, including looking at additional safety measures and legal disclaimers. However, after contacting many brokers, we have been unable to find a company to insure the activity, and without appropriate insurance it cannot go ahead.

"We are extremely disappointed by having to make this difficult decision."

The greasy pole has been a central part of the fair throughout the 20th century – and possibly even earlier.

Dennis Taylor will be attending his fourth Pole Fair this year and has tackled the greasy pole in the past.

He said: “I gave it a go in 1982. It’s a shame but I’m not surprised. Last time, even though people signed a waiver, they sued for damages after hurting themselves. It ate into the profit from the fair that should be passed on to the next one.”

Chuck Middleton, aka Chuck the Poet, will be performing his Corby Pole Fair 2022 poem at the event and has attended two previous Pole Fairs.

He said: “The whole event is called the Pole Fair. It’s incredibly sad that the greasy pole will not be there. I would have given it a go if I hadn’t injured my knee.”

Visitors to the Pole Fair will be able to see a decorated ceremonial pole erected on the Charter Field, which has been supplied by Howarth Timber.

Instead of climbing, people will be asked to snap a selfie with the pole to win a £100 voucher for Hadden’s Butchers.

Got to to volunteer as festival assistants, join in the parade or enter the fancy dress competition.