Pie champ crown up for grabs

Last year's World Pie eating Championship at Harry's Bar Wallgate, Wigan. Winner Ian Coulton of Orrell

Last year's World Pie eating Championship at Harry's Bar Wallgate, Wigan. Winner Ian Coulton of Orrell

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THE World Pie Eating championships returns to Wigan for the 22nd time tomorrow (Thursday) and its organiser is gearing up for another top event.

Pub chain owner Tony Callaghan is the contest’s “pie-master” and has urged as many locals to get involved to ensure the trophy stays in Wigan.

He also thinks that if the pastry products were taken a little more seriously by Wiganers, they could provide a £200 million boost to the local economy.

“There’s 317,800 people in Wigan according to the most recent census,” said Mr Callaghan. “If you deduct the 500 veggies in town, the 19,000 under-5s and maybe 5,000 people with no teeth, then you’ve got 293,300 people, who, at an average pie price of around 80p, if they ate one each a day, would generate £86m a year.

“You could double that for exports, continue to charge visiting southerners to Wigan Athletic £3.50 a pie - they’d be none-the-wiser and think it a bargain - and we’d have a £200m pieconomy.

“The authorities and tourism board should be promoting the pie and positioning Wigan as a world centre for pies.

“I acknowledge, though, that there would be a need to drive healthy pie development, which would involve less salt, Heston Blumenthal pastry made from something healthy and weird probably involving strawberries, free range potatoes and possibly even posh beef from Cheshire or even further south.”

The World Pie Eating Championships takes place at Harry’s Bar on Wallgate tomorrow from 12pm – otherwise known as “Pie Noon”.

Entrants can register on the day by turning up at 11.30am and putting their names down.