Could this be the dream job for Wiganers?

The pie panel
The pie panel

Bakers have turned to connoisseurs of the pie in Wigan to test out their latest products.

After a search for pastry tasters to join Holland’s Elite Pie Panel, two borough fans Sally Starr and Harry Forsyth beat hundreds of hopefuls to be enlisted.

Holland's Pies pie panel member Sally Starr

Holland's Pies pie panel member Sally Starr

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Sally and Harry, joined by four other tasters, will attend a meeting every six months at the Holland’s Pies bakery in Baxenden, Lancashire where they will get to taste and review pies, puds and more, alongside Holland’s newly appointed chief PIEologist, Helen Henry.

On top of this, they will both receive a year’s supply of pies after every single meeting!

Pie panel hopefuls were asked to prove their love for pies and explain why they deserved a spot on the panel in the most creative way possible, which is exactly what both panellists did.

The pie panel judges were impressed with Sally’s pun filled entry, with no fewer than 31 pie puns woven into her application as well as a comic book entitled PieMan (created by Sally herself) to accompany it.

Judges were equally impressed with Harry’s longstanding love for Holland’s, beginning back in the 1940s when Harry got his very first taste of a Holland’s pie.

The first pie panel meeting took place in Walter’s Café at Holland’s HQ where panellists got their hands on Holland’s Pies’ new Best Ever range.

The range is available in over 1,200 chippies across the North West and in the chilled aisle in Asda, Co-op, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco stores and in frozen by the end of November.

Helen Henry, chief PIEologist at Holland’s Pies, said “We had over 500 entries from the public for these six coveted roles on the pie panel, but Sally and Harry’s really stood out.

“Their passion for pies, puds and puns gave our judging panel a good laugh and cemented their place as Holland’s pie tasters.”

Sally said “I’m over the moon to join the Holland’s pie panel and can’t wait to get started.

“I’ve loved pies for as long as I can remember, so much so that my GCSE coursework was dedicated to them.”

Harry said “I didn’t think in a million years that I would be chosen.

“It’s a childhood dream come true to become a pie taster on the Holland’s pie panel and to have the chance to give my feedback on their pies and puds!

“Thanks Holland’s, you’ve made a little boy’s dream come true.”

Wiganers are proud to be called pie eaters and indeed consume plenty of them, but the nickname is not thought to be because of their appetite for the delicacy.

The name is said to date from the 1926 General Strike, when Wigan miners were starved back to work, before their counterparts in surrounding towns and were forced to eat “humble pie”.

The local favourite is the meat and potato variety and it is these that are consumed at the now annual World Pie-Eating Championships hosted at Harry’s Bar on Wallgate each December.

The man behind the contest, pub chain owner Tony Callaghan, hit the headlines again two years ago when he launched a pie into outer space on a weather balloon.