HAXEY HOOD: Lording it for quarter of a century

Haxey Hood chief Phil Coggon has become the longest serving Lord on record – and he reveals that he has no plans to hang up his feathered hat any time soon.
Haxey Hood Phil CogganHaxey Hood Phil Coggan
Haxey Hood Phil Coggan

Phil, 60, oversaw proceedings at his 26th Hood last week and says he has plenty more years left him in yet to take charge of the annual muddy, booze-fuelled contest that saw The Loco scoop the honours this time round.

He said: “I want to keep doing it for a bit longer yet. I love doing it and it makes me feel quite proud to have been in charge of the Haxey Hood so long.”

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He takes the title of longest serving documented Hood Lord from Harry Cooper, who was in charge of the Twelfth Night game during the 1940s and 1950s.

Phil, an engineer for the rest of the year, was first appointed Lord of the Hood in the summer of 1989, taking charge of his first contest in January of 1990.

Since then, he has donned his red jacket and feather and badge-bedecked hat every year since, saying his proudest achievement is seeing the appeal of the Hood widen during that time.

“There have been lots of changes since I took over,” he said. “I think the biggest is that it is a lot more popular now. More people want to take part and we get lots of people coming from long distances to watch and enjoy the day.”

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Phil attended his first Hood as a seven-year-old and was appointed to become a Boggin – one of the twelve helpers who help keep proceedings in check – when he was 16.

And, with his uniform now in storage for another year, Phil says he now enjoys being able to watch the rough and tumble proceedings from a distance.

“It is extremely rough in the Sway,” he said. “But, if you keep calm and don’t panic, you’re fine.

“But if you’ve been in there for an hour or more, you know about it for weeks afterwards. Its absolutely grim waking up the next morning!”

He added that this year’s event had raised more than £1,500 for charitable causes through the tour of pubs.