First-time champion Tony prevails at Pirton Pumpkin Show with 12-stone gourd

Tony Primett with his winning entry in the 2015 Pirton Pumpkin Show.

Tony Primett with his winning entry in the 2015 Pirton Pumpkin Show. - Credit: Archant

Growers of all things ginormous congregated in Pirton on Saturday for the 51st annual Pirton Pumpkin Show, and to see the crowning of a new King Pumpkin.

A pumpkin in the Pirton Pumpkin Show 2015

A pumpkin in the Pirton Pumpkin Show 2015 - Credit: Archant

The champion gourd, grown by Tony Primett of Meppershall, tipped the scales at 177 lbs – over 12 stone.

Tony had won the show’s open championship before, but this was his first victory in the main club championship. His winner is now on display at Waitrose in Hitchin.

“We were very well attended this year, with over 300 through the door,” said committee member Vanessa Cole. “There was plenty to see, from the big championship pumpkins to the brilliant decorated pumpkins, pumpkin cooking, flower arrangements and photographs in the ‘Beautiful Pirton’ class.”

Not satisfied with the pumpkin crown, 77-year-old Tony also took home the prizes for the heaviest onion – 3 lb, 15 oz – and the heaviest marrow – 25 lb, 6 oz.

The Joseph and Graham-Venn family entry to the Pirton Pumpkin Show 2015

The Joseph and Graham-Venn family entry to the Pirton Pumpkin Show 2015 - Credit: Archant

Other winners included the Pirton School Gardening Club, who won the children’s championship with a pumpkin weighing in at 17 lb, 10 oz.

Fred West, the Pirton pumpkin legend who has been crowned King Pumpkin 24 times, failed to win his title back, but was one of Tony’s closest rivals in the main competition.

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Fred won the longest carrot and longest green bean categories.

The open championship, for the heaviest pumpkin grown by a non-member, was won by Noel Granger, whose entry weighed 136 lbs, just shy of 10 stone.

George, 12 and Skye Simmons, 8 with their Volkswagen emission scandal themed pumpkin

George, 12 and Skye Simmons, 8 with their Volkswagen emission scandal themed pumpkin - Credit: Archant

Ron Maceachern won prizes for the best pumpkin decorated by an adult, the biggest pumpkin cheat, the best-matching pair of pumpkins and in the miscellaneous class for his ‘rainbow carrots’.

Children’s winners for the best-decorated pumpkins were Lilly and Oz Graham-Venn, Jessica Sexton-Smith, Rose and Florence Fausset, Ruby Clark and Lily Burgess.

Vanessa said: “This year’s big pumpkins were not as big as last year across the board – the growers just said it hadn’t been a good year,

“But we would really love to have more next year, so if anyone’s a keen gardener we’d love them to enter.

“They do not have to be members – we have an open class and a novice class. There’s a challenge!”

Newly crowned King Pumpkin Tony says that the key to growing real whoppers is the right seed.

“The key is to get the right seed and get it started in the greenhouse,” said Tony.

“The best seed is from America or Canada. I had one last year that was over 200kg (440 lbs or 31 stone).

“Grow it in the greenhouse if you can. If you can’t, grow it outside with plenty of water and plenty of manure. That’s all there is to it.”

The next Pirton Pumpkin Show will be in October 2016.