Saturday, 24 March 2018

Estate manager does the double with giant veg

AN estate manager scored a double at the Ewelme Horticultural Society Show with a 72lb marrow

AN estate manager scored a double at the Ewelme Horticultural Society Show with a 72lb marrow and two giant cabbages.

Gary Heeks, 54, who works at the Old Rectory in the village, won the heaviest marrow class and took the cabbage class with his 45lb and 50lb specimens.

About 500 people attended the 36th annual show, which took place on the village recreation ground on bank holiday Monday.

There were classes for produce, flowers, cakes, jams and fruit as well as several for children.

Mr Heeks also claimed two second prizes for five onions over 8oz and his top table of peppers, tomatoes and carrots.

“I’m very pleased as this is my second year of entering,” he said.

“I start my cabbages off in December so it has taken a lot of time. The onions I start in January and the marrows in March. Marrows have got to be continuously watered. For the cabbages all you do is work with good compost and make sure the ground’s nice and firm.

“It’s a pleasure to see a little seedling grow to be a 50lb-plus cabbage or a marrow of 60lb.

“It makes you feel good inside and you see how far you can push the boundaries. It really gives me a buzz.”

Mr Heeks, of Lawson Road, Henley, said he had another cabbage weighing about 100lb in the garden ready to take to the Malvern Show later this month.

The marrow from Monday’s show is destined for his compost heap or could be used to feed horses — but not the cabbages. “They have got nice hearts,” he said. “They would make a lovely coleslaw.”

Jennifer Stringer, eight, from Ewelme, won seven show prizes for her face mask, photo frame, decorated cakes, miniature garden, a Lego animal, matchbox and unmounted photograph of lemurs.

She said: “I feel good. The Lego animal was most difficult to make because I didn’t have any Lego at home.

“I was really worrying so I went and made it at my grandad’s as he had a big bag of Lego. Every year I enter I get one more win.”

The show featured tea and cakes, a barbecue, a skittles competition, a display of classic cars and a range of stalls, including one where children could handle rabbits, lizards, snakes and a tarantula.

Chalgrove Concert Band entertained the visitors along with children’s performer Bertie  Slippers.

Society chairwoman Tracey Perkins said: “It went very well — it’s a lovely day with a lovely atmosphere.

“We were slightly down on the number of exhibits so we’ll try to encourage more people to enter into the show tent next year.”

Mrs Perkins said the tea stall alone had raised £800 with more money expected to come in.

Donations will be made to the Millstream Day Centre in Benson and other charities in the area.

The organisers suffered a setback when vandals damaged the roofs of two portable toilets after the show. The repairs will cost about £300.

“We have excess in the bank but it just eats into the money we made on the day,” said Mrs Perkins.

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