Smashing pumpkins for designer clients

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Halloween is going to be ‘strictly’ business for a Whitby designer who is carving out a profit from pumpkins.

Dave Turner (24) has been holed up all week in his studio near Whitby carving pumpkins which are going to be used on prime time Saturday night television shows.

Producers have asked Dave to carve the squash plants to be featured on the set of BBC1’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and on rival show ‘X-Factor’ on ITV.

He is also set to appear today on the daytime show ‘This Morning’ demonstrating his carving skills and setting hosts Marvin and Rochelle Humes from JLS and The Saturdays to a carving challenge.

By the time the trick or treaters have sloped back off into the darkness, Dave will have hand-carved over 100 pumpkins for different clients.

For X Factor he is carving the faces of the celeb judges - Simon Cowell, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Spice Girl Mel B and Lois Walsh, into the pumpkins.

He said: “I couldn’t carve them until Thursday (yesterday) or they would go off. I started at lunchtime and just kept going and will sleep in the car on the way to London for ‘This Morning’.

“I make a stencil and trace it onto the pumpkin and carve it and hope it works out for the best because if it goes wrong I can’t do another one.

“It is a good job I work well when I am tired.”

Dave was asked last year to do pumpkins for Strictly and is now known in the business as Pumpkin Dave.

An appearance on the One Show then generated other commissions including shoe designer Jimmy Choo and supermarket chain Waitrose.

Not bad for a Whitby lad who uses tools from Sainsburys and works from a garage on the Guisborough Road.

He started carving pumpkins for Halloween like most kids and started experimenting with more intricate designs.

After leaving university three years ago he started a product design business but set up a Facebook page for the pumpkins as a sideline and more orders kept coming in.

“Each year it has just got bigger and bigger,” he added.

“It is all down to the networking and my business partner Grace Clarke that we bring in more work.

“At this time of year I am up until 4am carving but the hardest thing is working out how long they will stay fresh for.

“When people are spending £500 on them I don’t want them to arrive smashed up and mouldy.”