PUMPKIN CHALLENGE FOR CHILDREN
CHILDREN in Southport are being challenged to grow a giant
pumpkin and help the NSPCC help abused children at the same time.
The Mere Brow Giant Pumpkin Competition has become an institution in
the North West with competitors from the small agricultural village
and its surrounds using fair means; and occasionally foul; to
attempt to grow the heaviest pumpkin.
Last year’s winning pumpkin was a massive 702 lbs and the year
before the winner was a staggering 912lb which shattered the UK
heaviest pumpkin record. This year the competition organisers are
joining forces with the NSPCC and throwing down the gauntlet to
children across the country, challenging youngsters to get involved
and raise money for the children’s charity at the same time.
Trevor Wilson of Mere Brow, said:- “This is the twelfth annual
Mere Brow Giant Pumpkin competition and it promises to be the most
competitive yet as we have decided to this year include some prize
money to the competition winners."
People living within a
10 mile radius of Mere Brow can compete for the Mere Brow & District
Shield, but anyone can enter the “All England Shield”
“The variety of pumpkin we encourage people to grow are ‘Atlantic
Giants’ and they grow so fast you can virtually watch it
happening. Some people take the competition very seriously and keep
the location of their pumpkin a closely guarded secret. Giant
pumpkin growers will often try all sorts of weird and wonderful
techniques to get an edge over their fellow competitors – last year
one competitor fed his pumpkin just Guinness directly from the
barrel. It didn’t win but it grew well! This year we decided
we wanted to get more children involved. It is fantastic for
children because the pumpkins grow so fast it holds their interest
and the rate of growth can be almost magical. We contacted the NSPCC
because we wanted children to benefit all ways round.”
Hazel Russell, Community Appeals Manager for the NSPCC in
Lancashire, said:- “We are really grateful that the
competition organisers thought of the NSPCC. The proceeds will make
a real difference to the lives of vulnerable children.”
The competition was launched on Monday 24 April at Tarleton High
School when pupils planted their pumpkin seeds under the watchful
eye of Trevor.
For details of how to enter the competition and tips on growing your
pumpkin log on to the competition website at
or contact Trevor Wilson at Mere Brow Lane, Mere Brow, Tarleton,
Preston PR4 6JP. The entry fee is £5 for each pumpkin entered, a maximum of 2 per person is allowed. The weigh in will take place
on Saturday, October 21 at Brandreth Farm, Burscough, near Ormskirk.
The pumpkins are not easily transportable and fork lift trucks are
required to lift them, but even if getting to the weigh-in is not
practical, there is nothing to stop people growing them for fun and
to support a good cause.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR:- "UK Farm Payments"
In times where farmers' payments depend on their commitment to the
environment, it seems to me that we should pay greater attention to
who lead the way in this area.
Each year, the Farmcare FWAG Silver Lapwing Awards ? the most
prestigious awards for farm conservation ? recognise farmers who
combine conservation with commercial success on their farms. We can
learn a lot from how they do it. I urge all farmers to consider
entering this year's Silver Lapwing
awards to have their achievements recognised.
The main Silver Lapwing award rewards the pinnacle of conservation
achievement, with winners from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern
Ireland battling it out for the overall UK Silver Lapwing trophy and
Farmers new to conservation can compete for the First Steps Award.
For example any farmer who has joined the Entry Level Stewardship
scheme in England is eligible to enter this category.
Judging takes place during the summer and the winners will be
invited to the prestigious ceremony in London in October.
The closing date for entries is 19th May 2006. Any readers who are
interested in entering can download a simple entry form from
co-opfarmcare.com." Yours faithfully,
Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group.
Electoral Commission to evaluate
Sefton, Liverpool and Knowsley election pilots
FOLLOWING this years local
elections the Electoral Commission has begun an evaluation of the
electoral pilot scheme in Sefton. The council has produced a marked
list of postal voters for public inspection after the election, a
similar list is already produced for polling station voters.
The Commission is asking local electors, candidates, party activists
and community groups to share their experiences of the pilot scheme
and will publish findings in a report by 4 August 2006.
When evaluating the Sefton, Liverpool and Knowsley pilots the
Commission will collect views on the impact of the pilots schemes
across a range of issues from the voting experience and elector
turnout to electoral administration and the security of the vote.
The Commission is inviting electors in Sefton to give their views by
downloading a questionnaire or using the online form. Comments may
also be sent by post to The Electoral Modernisation Team, Trevelyan
House, Great Peter Street, London SW1 P 2HW. All comments and
completed questionnaires should be submitted by 19 May 2006.
Pilot schemes have taken place in 15 areas across England covering
different innovations from early voting in supermarkets and care
homes, to electronic counting or signing for ballot papers.