The whole city walks along streets for the funeral of a man who devoted his life to making an old game ball
Hundreds of mourners, two meters apart, lined the streets to pay their last respects to the villager who made the balls for their medieval football game.
John Harrison, 80, was the centerpiece of Ashbourne’s Royal Shrovetide match in Derbyshire for 41 years, but died last month.
The historic game that helped Prince Charles kick off in 2003 has been played there since 1667 and sees teams try to score goals five miles apart.
Hundreds of mourners lined the streets pictured in the historic town of Ashbourne on Monday to pay their last respects to the villager who made the balls for their medieval football game
John Harrison pictured was the centerpiece of Ashbourne’s Royal Shrovetide game in Derbyshire for 41 years, but died last month
Players participate in the Royal Shrovetide Football Match in Ashbourne, Derbyshire last year
Prince Charles was photographed while visiting the city in 2003 through the streets of Ashbourne
Mourners of all ages kept their distance and carried balls, pictured, as they remember John Harrison in Ashbourne on Monday
Coronavirus restrictions meant that Mr. Harrison’s church was not allowed to let anyone in for a service – so instead, the entire village, including fully fired local firefighters, was a guard of honor.
They maintained the correct level of social distance when they stood a mile and a half along the streets of his house until his resting place on Monday afternoon.
His procession passed them as they bowed their heads next to fire trucks for the former firefighter.
Ashbourne Mayor Ann Smith helped organize the incredible statement of support that the ‘Shrove-tide family’ called on to ‘come together, the social distance rules that were followed, to say goodbye’.
His wife Christine was unable to leave the house to see the tribute because, according to the Derby Telegraph.
She told the site: “It was overwhelming, I can’t tell you. We’ve had so many cards, flowers, benevolent messages and text messages. It was fantastic.
Corona virus restrictions meant that the local church could not let anyone in for a service – so instead the entire village, including local firefighters in full uniform, in the photo formed an honor guard
Competitors from opposing teams, the Up’ards and the Down’ards, reach for the ball at the annual Royal Shrovetide Football Match in Ashbourne last year
Mister Harrison’s procession passed Ashbourne on Monday, pictured, as people bowed their heads next to fire trucks for the former firefighter
The crowd at Ashbourne, pictured on Monday, gathered to remember Mr. Harrison, who was an important part of the historical game Prince Charles once kicked off in 2003
John had a good set of principles that he steadfastly lived by and they never changed. He was a very humble man, just did his job. He didn’t have to be in the spotlight.
“There are many things he has left to remember. The Shrovetide balls he made and the houses he built. ‘
The Royal Shrovetide football game dates back to the 12th century and is played on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday from 2pm to 10pm.
The targets are three miles apart, and hundreds of villages from the hill known as the Up’ards take them down the mountain called the Down’ards.
The game is also known as a cuddle ball because hundreds of villagers move the ball in a huge scrum between targets.
Ashbourne, where mourners gathered on Monday, pictured, has hosted the Royal Shrovetide competition for centuries
The game, which was played in Ashbourne last year, is also known as hugball as hundreds of villagers move the ball in a huge scrum between targets
Ashbourne Mayor Ann Smith helped organize the incredible support on Monday, pictured, calling on the ‘Shrove-tide family’ to ‘come together, the social distance rules that were adhered to to say goodbye’
The Royal Shrovetide football game, which the people of Ashbourne, pictured, remembered on Monday, dates back to the 12th century and is played on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday from 2pm to 10pm
Each team tries to return the ball to its own goal, and if it is ‘goal-oriented’ before 5:30 PM, a new ball is released and play resumes from the city center.
The game has been known as Royal since 1928 when the then Prince of Wales and later King Edward VIII popped up the ball – and suffered a bloody nose.