Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Celebrity baker is the star attraction at village show

CELEBRITY baker Mary Berry was guest of honour at Ewelme village show on Monday.

CELEBRITY baker Mary Berry was guest of honour at Ewelme village show on Monday.

Hundreds of people turned out on the village recreation ground to see the 78-year-old, who is best known for her role as a judge on BBC 2’s Great British Bake Off.

She was the guest judge of the Mary Berry Challenge for which entrants had to bake a Victoria sandwich cake, the baker’s speciality,

Dozens of fans crowded around the show tent as she took to the stage to announce the winner before she was presented with a bunch of flowers by five-year-old Jennifer Stringer.

Berry then formally opened the tent before being inundated with requests for autographs. She spent almost an hour with fans posing for pictures and signing copies of her Great British Bake Off cookbook.

Berry, who has just released her autobiography, Recipe For Life, said: “I’m very keen on keeping these wonderful country shows going.

“I thought the cakes on show were all of a very high standard. They are all prize-winners and there wasn’t one cake there that I wouldn’t have enjoyed.

“It was a wonderful display and I think these village shows are wonderful. Even if their carrots and onions aren’t of a big size and their bean isn’t terribly long, the more you do the better it becomes. Shows like this are terribly important. There’s a big space here, plenty of parking and room for everyone to have a fun day out.”

Berry’s chosen winner was Judith Hall, a personal assistant for BP, who was persuaded to enter by her mother.

Miss Hall, 55, of Wingfield Close, Ewelme, said: “It’s very exciting. Thanks to my mother — she made me enter and she won’t believe me when I tell her I’ve won. I’ve never won first prize at anything before.” The judging tent featured all the cakes in the contest as well as hundreds of examples of fruit, vegetables and preserves competing for prizes.

Live music was provided by the Chinnor Silver Band and there were refreshments stands and stalls selling locally-made items including knitted cushions and home-made cakes.

There was also a classic car display, an archery range and a children’s crafts tent. Angela Harrison, who chairs the Ewelme Horticultural Society, which organised the 33rd annual show, said the attendance was a record.

“More than 1,000 people turned up,” she said. “There were 300 cars parked on the recreation ground and 400 in the car park at the top.

“Because Mary Berry was here it was even better. When it was first mentioned that she might be persuaded to judge I thought that would be lovely and didn’t give it another thought so it was great that she could come. She is such a lovely person and spent so much time with people signing autographs and having her picture taken.”

Meanwhile, a former Oxfordshire county councillor won the most prizes at this year’s Goring Heath and Whitchurch summer show.

Dave Sexon, 66, who used to represent Goring division until he stepped down in May, took home three of the eight trophies, including best entry for his roses and most points overall.

There were 130 entries to the show, which took place at Goring Heath parish hall. Categories included flowers, fruit and vegetables, baking, arts and crafts, photography and a children’s section.

A full story, pictures and results will be published in next week’s Henley Standard.

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