Nine-stone marrow wins top prize

Richard Hope with his nine-stone marrow
Richard Hope with his nine-stone marrow

GREEN-fingered Richard Hope is sad that yet again his sunflowers have failed to grab the world record - but he’s glad that his giant marrow – weighing nine stone – has taken top prize at a prestigious major vegetable show.

The pensioner from Shevington, who has been bidding for the world sunflower record for 30 years, is proud that this year’s plants have rocketed to over 25ft, but with the world record standing 2ft higher, his hopes have faded.

Thankfully, his giant marrow put a smile back on his face.

Former railway worker Richard said: “It’s been a good growing year and my crop of sunflowers have been fantastic. It’s just that they haven’t been able to put on a final spurt. But there’s always next year.”

The prize-winning marrow had growers gasping at the Newcastle Giant Vegetable Show, tipping the scales at nine stone. The nearest one was at least three stone lighter.

Richard laughed: “To be honest, I’ve grown an even heavier marrow this year, but it was just too big to lift onto the trailer.”

At the same show, the prize gardener’s tomatoes took second prize, weighing four pounds.

He added: “As with all growing, the answer lies in excellent soil. I became fascinated by giant vegetables and flowers many, many years ago. I suppose it’s become a bit of an obsession.

“My legs are not quite as good as they were, so climbing the ladders to tend to the sunflowers growing up the side of the house is getting a little more difficult. But I’ll be saving the seeds to have another go next year. I won’t give up.”