Fresh crop of volunteers needed to save pumpkin contest

Basingstoke Gazette: Big entry...competitors at the Bear and Ragged Staff pumpkin show Big entry...competitors at the Bear and Ragged Staff pumpkin show

It’s been a part of village life for 47 years, but a popular pumpkin-growing contest may have finally gone to seed unless a new organising team comes forward.

It was in 1967 that the then landlord of the Bear and Ragged Staff, in Michelmersh, first challenged locals to see who would could grow the biggest pumpkin.

Over the years, the annual event, run each October by The Bear and Ragged Staff Pumpkin Club, has raised many thousands of pounds for local charities.

As well as pumpkins, the competition has been widened to include marrows and other vegetables and novelty classes for children. In recent years, the contest has also included a Hallowe’en fancy dress theme.

Following 2013’s show, which was very well attended, the current organising committee reluctantly decided that the event would be their last.

But rather than declare the contest dead, it was decided to search for another group willing to take over the running of the show.

Club chairman, Phil Hutchins, said: “The current team has been together for many years, but felt the time had come after many years of successful shows to call it a day. However, we felt that there might be others who would like to take on what is a very successful event and benefit from all the hard work my committee has put in over many years.

“I’d love to hear from any local groups who might be interested in running the competition in future years, as it’s a great way to raise money for a worthy cause.”

He said the committee would advise any other organisation that wished to take over the show. Any group who would be interested can contact Phil, on 01794 368117.

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