Growers set to battle it out at Egton Bridge in world’s oldest gooseberry show

Graeme Watson
Graeme Watson

The 2019 edition of the world’s oldest gooseberry show will take place on Tuesday at St Hedda’s RC School, Egton Bridge.

Since 1800, competitors in the Egton Show Old Gooseberry Society’s show have strived to grow the largest berry in one of the four colours – and these traditions continue today.

There are categories for heaviest twins, heaviest dozen and half dozen plus the champion grower, awarded for consistency across all classes.

Graeme Watson will be looking to defend his title but will face stiff competition from Bryan Nellist, the former holder of the world record for the heaviest gooseberry – and still the heaviest ever entered into competition.

The event has certainly made headlines down the years. In 2009, Bryan Nellist took the R Harland Challenge Cup with, at the time, a record-breaking berry.

Coming in at exactly 35 drams (2.19 oz. or 62.0 grams) the Woodpecker berry was the heaviest ever shown in the United Kingdom, beating Kelvin Archer’s previous record by just over 2 grains or 0.1 grams. It was recognised as an official world record.

Bryan’s success received widespread coverage in the local and national press, with the Whitby Gazette hailing it as Bryan’s berry best in the world.”

Kelvin later reclaimed the world record but Bryan’s fruity beast remains the heaviest entered into the competition.

Berries will be on display next Tuesday from 2pm and there will be live music from The Eskuleles from 5pm.

Afternoon teas will be available and prize giving will commence at 6pm.

Look out for pictures in the Whitby Gazette next week.

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