Yorkshireman reclaims world record for heaviest gooseberry

A Yorkshireman has regained the world record for the heaviest gooseberry – describing the achievement as “the Holy Grail” of fruit growing.

Tuesday, 6th August 2019, 4:33 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th August 2019, 5:33 pm
The Egton Gooseberry contest and show, with new world record holder Graeme Watson Picture: Richard Ponter

Graeme Watson, 59, from Ainthorpe, North Yorkshire, said it was a “good feeling” to break the record with his 64.56g “little beauty”, equivalent to 2.2 ounces.

But he said it was a “race against time” to submit the champion fruit to Egton Bridge Gooseberry Show before it lost too much weight.

Mr Watson said he had a bit of a sleepless night after picking the winning fruit and realising its potential.

It was a race against time for Graeme Watson to make sure the gooseberry arrived at theofficial weigh-in in one piece Picture: Richard Ponter

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

To get the gooseberry to the show without a disaster was also tricky, he said.

He said: “It was a race against time to get it to the show and get it officially weighed. I had to sweat it out to make sure it hadn’t burst on the way.

“I had it in a box like a little mini suitcase. A mini carrying box padded out inside and lined in egg trays.

“I had it on my knee in the car just in case we hit any potholes or cattle grids.”

Mr Watson said the key to growing record-breaking gooseberries was “attention to detail” – keeping away pests, using enough fertiliser and putting up umbrellas to keep off hot sun and rain.

He added: “It’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime gooseberry for most growers.”

Mr Watson’s gooseberry, a yellow variety called Millennium, weighed 64.56g at 9am – beating around 30 other competitors and the current world record of 64.49g, which has been held by Kelvin Archer, of Cheshire, since 2013.

In 2009 Bryan Nellist, from Egton Bridge, held the title.

Show secretary Ian Woodcock said: “As the world’s oldest gooseberry show we are very proud to have claimed back the title.“We can’t have these people from the other side of the Pennines thinking they can grow decent gooseberries, can you?”