GALLERY: How pig farmer used manure to grow 317kg whopper and take glory at Soham Pumpkin Fair
- Credit: Archant
If you want to get ahead – enough anyway to grow a whopper of a pumpkin – get a pig.
That was the advice of Stuart Holden whose 317kg pumpkin scooped top honours at Soham’s annual pumpkin fair on Saturday.
The Barton Mills pig farmer used manure daily from when he planted the pumpkin on May 1 to when he got six friends to lift it ready for the fair. It was entered into the competition by his partner, Ashleigh Croxon.
“I usually grow chilli peppers but thought I’d turn my hand to pumpkins,” he said after being acclaimed Soham Pumpkin Fair champion.
Mr Holden said: “That’s 617lb in ‘old money’ or nearly 50st.”
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It is believed to be the biggest pumpkin grown in the UK this year.
His second entry also featured among the top pumpkins of the day – his second weighing in at 284kg.
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His was among a range of pumpkins of all shapes and sizes that proved popular with the hundreds of visitors to the fair.
Committee chairman Mark Williams said: “We had the largest collection of 150kg pumpkins in the UK with no fewer than six being over this weight.”
As well as the quest to find the largest pumpkin, there were classes for the tallest sunflowers, heaviest marrow, longest runner bean and biggest onion.
Visitors were treated to brilliant sunshine, a midsummer-type atmosphere and main ring entertainment that ranged from First World War songs to majorettes displays to ferret racing.
Ferret racing has become a popular attraction at the fair, with Cambridgeshire breeders explaining to visitors the joys and difficulties of looking after and caring for them.
The races proved a hit too – a 50p stake on which ferret which would emerge from a lengthy pipe and wire ‘circuit’ prompting encouragement from spectators.
Mr Williams said: “Large crowds turned out in what was one of the hottest pumpkin fairs ever.
“We had a great time and would like to thank all our sponsors, visitors, performers, volunteers, helpers and committee who with their support the show just could not go on.”
He added: “We have raised a significant sum for the following charities Soham Museum, Soham Action 4 Youth and Soham Playgroup.”