Cinderford is a place famed through the years for its eccentrics. The 9th Duke of Cinderford was said to have invented the Gloucestershire Hula, a highly complicated dance during which the partners exchange addresses and insurance details. A 19th century mayor single-handedly quelled a prison riot with one of the most courageous performances of bird impressions known to history. And then there's Cinderford's Dry Peter, a man who feared getting wet so much that he took three towels, a hairdryer and a giant umbrella with him wherever he went.

According to legend, Dry Peter was so dry that he rustled when he moved, even naked, and just to see him at close quarters made a chap thirsty. It is said, in local circles, that he met his end one night when a hue was raised for an escaped felon (a cry would normally have been raised as well but there wasn't time) and Dry Peter, in giving pursuit, stumbled into a hidden pond in rough country. The last anyone heard of him were muffled screams beneath the sound of his battery-charged hairdryer as he sank, catatonic, to the bottom.

Cinderford Town also have a deer on their crest because there are deer round these parts and an alert stag looks that bit more imperious than a floppy-hatted neurotic carrying a hairdryer and towels. Cameron Carter

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