The winner is revealed at the 221st Egton Bridge Old Gooseberry Show

At more than 200 years old, it is the oldest surviving gooseberry show in the country and is still weighing in with competition firsts.

Wednesday, 3rd August 2022, 6:00 am

The Egton Bridge Old Gooseberry Show, just a few miles from the seaside town of Whitby, is always held on the first Tuesday in August and the 221st show took place yesterday in its new venue at Egton Manor.

There was a good turn-out of spectators and competitors despite entries being down as predicted due to the weather.

There had been concerns about the show as the heatwave of a fortnight ago had caused berries to ripen too early and led to the most dedicated of growers putting umbrellas over their prize produce to protect them from the sunlight.

Graeme Watson, who is already the world record holder for having grown the heaviest gooseberry back in 2019, won the coveted title this year with a berry tipping the scales at 30 drams and 12 grains (53.9 grams).

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It is some way off his title winning berry of 36 drams and 12 grains (64.83 grams) but it was enough to score 60 points out of a possible 60 when all classes were added together.

Secretary of Egton Bridge Old Gooseberry Society, Ian Woodcock said: “For the first time ever somebody has got 60 out of 60 - that has never been done before. So not only is Graeme the world record holder but is the first to get a maximum at the show.

“It has gone very well at the new venue and everybody has had a great time.

Howard Hebdon and Ken Fletcher weighing this year's entries to the Egton Bridge Gooseberry Show near Whitby held for the first time at Egton Manor.

“We are slightly down on last year, we knew how challenging the weather has been but there have been some great plates of berries.

“We have had a great turn out and we must thank Egton Manor for a great spread of afternoon tea.”

Gooseberry shows were once popular all over the North of England, but declined after the First World War, dwindling from about 170 to only 20.

Now there are only two of these original societies left, one in Cheshire and the Egton Bridge Show where official records go back to 1800.

Despite challenging weather and growing conditions, there were some good berries on show as judging took place at the 221st Egton Bridge Old Gooseberry Show.

The rules are still simple and gardeners enter their biggest gooseberries into one of four classes: red gooseberries, yellow ones, greens and white ones.

The heaviest gooseberry is determined by an apothecary scale and berries at around 33 drams are the size of a golf ball.

Mr Woodcock added: “People seem to genuinely enjoy it. They ask if it involves pies or anything but it is just the biggest gooseberry and people like that.”