Pumpkin piles on the pounds for charity

Charlotte of Sleights with the giant pumpkin. Picture Kathryn Bulmer
Charlotte of Sleights with the giant pumpkin. Picture Kathryn Bulmer

A 28-stone pumpkin is ending its days as a giant fundraiser for the the RNLI and Whitby Fishing School.

Grown by Sleights fisherman Matthew Cutts and fed on potash fertiliser, it eventually reached a whopping 28 stone before it was sold to Staithes fish wholesaler Matthew Asquith.

Mr Cutts donated £100 of the proceeds from the sale to the fishing school, while Mr Asquith gave the pumpkin to his partner Vicky Dixon of the Endeavour Kitchen.

For the last week it has been standing with an RNLI collection box outside the Staithes eatery and has raised more than £250 for the volunteer life-saving charity.

Ms Dixon later used the pumpkin to mark her Guy Fawkes Night relaunch of the Endeavour as the Endeavour Kitchen.

To celebrate Halloween, Vicky cut out the insides and handed out free pumpkin soup to passers-by on the High Street.

“It may have lost a bit of weight,but it’s certainly put on the pounds for the RNLI,” said chef Vicky.

The pumpkin was originally grown by Mr Cutts as he was sceptical about the benefits of potash and decided to find out for himself just how effective polyhalite could be as a fertiliser.

Mr Cutts, a lobster fisherman, said: “There has been so much talk about potash and the mine being built just up the road.

“It has been in the Gazette and I thought it would be good to give it a try and see how good it really is. The pumpkin got so big it just doesn’t look real.”

The potash used to fertilise the pumpkin came from nearby and every ten to 14 days he and daughter Charlotte, a pupil at Sleights C of E School, would sprinkle acouple of handfuls of potash over the pumpkin as well as watering it every night.