Monday, 14 October 2019

Giant marrow helps ensure village fete is stuffed full of visitors

Giant marrow helps ensure village fete is stuffed full of visitors

A GIANT pumpkin and marrow grown on Woodcote’s allotments were the stars of the produce show at the village fête on Saturday.

The vegetables, which weighed 81.6km and 44.5kg respectively, were among seven specimens entered by resident Dave Lane.

He was among scores of gardeners, cooks and artists who had entries at the show in the village hall in Reading Road.

Outside, hundreds of families enjoyed traditional fairground activities on the green.

Mr Lane, a retired university lecturer who lives in West Chiltern, took home the Davis Tate Award for best home-grown entries for the second year running. 

His other entries, six of which won their classes, included a 2lb onion, a squash and some smaller pumpkins.

Mr Lane, who has rented an allotment for at least 25 years but began devoting more attention to it after retiring five years ago, said: “The pumpkin was the biggest item by weight but the marrow was up to county standard — it’s the kind of thing you’d see at bigger shows.

“I enjoy taking part because it’s supporting a community event and I like to think it might inspire people to have a go next year.

“I spend so many hours up at the allotments during the summer because it’s therapeutic and relaxing, but that shouldn’t put people off. You don’t need to put that much time in to get good results.

“There’s no great secret to growing these larger vegetables. It’s really just horse manure and a lot of experience.”

Attractions at the fete included bungee trampolines, welly wanging, a teacup roundabout, a magic show by children’s entertainer Jester Giggles, Lego building and a skittles stand run by Woodcote Cricket Club.

A fun dog show was run by Woodcote Pet Services with prizes awarded for the waggiest tail, prettiest and ugliest dogs and the best child handler.

There were musical performances by local rock and pop covers band Sub Zero and pupils from Langtree School.

A selection of food stalls was provided by Jan’s Pitstop, of Woodcote, and Sole Luna Pizza, of Goring, and a tea tent was run by the Goring Heath scouts and guides.

All proceeds will go towards the refurbishment of the village hall, which the trustees are modernising in order to attract more hirers.

Organiser Helena McBride said: “We were so incredibly pleased with how it went.

“I think we over-ordered on the sunny weather and under-ordered on the beer! We don’t count attendance but I’m confident that it was busier than ever.

“You could just tell from the size of the crowds and the number of seats we had to put out.

“We had a lot of hay bales, which gave it a lovely country feel, and we were very impressed with the high standard and variety of entries to the produce show, especially from the children.

“From the feedback we’ve had so far, people seem to have had a wonderful time.

“We had help from so many individuals and community groups to make it happen, for which we’re very thankful.

“We’re having our wash-up meeting soon and I don’t think we’ll want to change too much for next year as the current format works so well.”

The fete was sponsored by the Soha housing association and the village’s “windmill sales” of second-hand goods while the Woodcote Rally committee provided tables and chairs.

The other trophy winners in the produce show were: 

Church Farm Award for best in show, in memory of Yvonne Sopp — Helen McAuslin

Croft Way Floral Class Award — Helen Piper

Doug Burton Memorial Cup for Baking — Helen McAuslin

Woodcote Correspondent Award for photography — Adaeze Nwzudu

Junior Challenge Award for school years 1 and 2, in memory of James Hawley — Tilly Scott

Oratory Junior Challenge Award for school years 3 to 6 — Amelia Ochocinska

Woodcote Parish Council Junior Challenge Award for children aged over 11 — Ben Hawley.

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