Group of strangers play huge game of tag which lasts for weeks across Essex

Group of strangers play huge game of tag which lasts for weeks across Essex <i>(Image: SWNS / Lee Hagger)</i>
Group of strangers play huge game of tag which lasts for weeks across Essex (Image: SWNS / Lee Hagger)

A group of strangers played a huge game of tag which lasted for weeks - and spanned the entire county.

Lee Hagger, 42, recruited 10 other people to take part after coming up with the idea on his podcast.

They set up a group chat and played the game - also known as 'it' - across Essex in October last year.

Players had to get creative to avoid being tagged - by colluding with other player's spouses or tracking their whereabouts online.

Lee - who ended up as the loser - said: "A lot of people who saw we were doing this originally thought it was stupid or childish.

"But since seeing my vlog about it so many people have gotten in touch and want to play the next game - it's been great."

Lee, from Witham, put the call out for players on his podcast as a way of finding a bigger audience.

Seventeen people replied including some old pals - one whom he hadn't seen for 25 years.

But the majority of the group were complete strangers Lee said: "The idea came about on my podcast show I have called Chew the Fat.

"We wanted to find a way to get a bigger audience and interact more with listeners.

"A colleague of mine had the idea to set up a giant game of tag.

"So we put it out on the podcast and we had 18 players who said they wanted to play. A few of us knew each other.

"But most people were strangers in the Essex area, spread across villages like Witham, Basildon and White Notley.

"One of our old friends came from Buckinghamshire to play and an old school friend I hadn't seen for 25 years played as well.

"We set up a group chat and the game began on October 8. It went on for three weeks solid and ended on Halloween."

Echo: Some of the 'tag' players
Echo: Some of the 'tag' players

Some of the 'tag' players (Image: SWNS)

Lee was the first person to be tagged - when another player was let into his home by his mum.

Despite managing to give that 'it' away, he ended up as the loser after being caught off guard on the final day at the pub.

The game had a few simple rules - such as filming when you tagged someone for proof.

Players also had to put their phone location for 15 minutes a day and were not allowed to visit other players at homes between 10pm and 6am.

Apart from that players could be tagged at any time, anywhere.

Lee said: "You could collaborate with other players if you wanted to, or even with other players families.

"As some of the players were strangers, you literally had to research them or investigate them to find out where they were.

"I messaged one of the player's partners on Facebook which was funny to find them.

"I literally had to say, 'Hey you don't know me, but I'm in my 40s playing a giant game of tag - could you help me out'.

"I even went to my friend's house in a different village at 5am to tag him before work.

"He's an old school friend and I hadn't seen him in 25 years.

"It was funny to see him and say, 'Hi mate. Sorry I haven't seen you in two-and-a-half decades - but you're it'."

Lee thinks the game brought the community together in ways they didn't expect - and hopes to host another game later this year.

He said: "The whole purpose of it was to bring more community contact through the podcast show, and it definitely has.

"Over a period of three weeks the group chat had something like 6,500 messages and it's created so many memories.

"We were running round supermarkets and having so much fun - it was chance to feel like a kid again."