A family of worm charmers from Tarleton became world champions this weekend after coaxing a staggering 394 of the burrowing invertebrate animals out of the ground.
Taking part in the World Worm Charming Championships held at Willaston Primary School in Cheshire were the Bowden family – comprised of dad Andrew, mum Jayne, son Dale and daughter Georgia.
With more than 144 teams from all over the world taking part in the annual event – in a three metre by three metre square, charmers have just 30 minutes to get as many worms out of the ground as possible.
Andrew said that some of the techniques on the day included vibrating a garden fork, singing and playing a musical instrument.
He added: “The noise on the day is amazing, there is a huge big count down at the start and in terms of the crowds there were hundreds of people there too.”
The rules of the competition state that no liquids, including water, or drugs can be used and competitors cannot dig the ground cannot either.
“There were worms everywhere, we were
getting handfuls. We used a normal garden fork, but we can’t tell you our exact methodology – we can’t give away our trade secrets,” Andrew added laughing.
“We made vibrations through the fork by wiggling it about and running a screw driver across the exposed part of the fork, and the worms just popped up.
“I stood watching the judges count at the end and one commented on how heavy our pint glass was – it took them 20 minutes to count the worms.
“When I saw the score I thought ‘we have won,’ I couldn’t stop giggling – there were just 32 worms in it between us and the next team.”
The family first competed at last year’s event, coming a reasonable 25th. This year, winning the trophy, they pulled on average one worm out of the ground every 4.5 seconds.
Andrew added: “It was all done for fun, but there is a serious side to it all, people come from all over the world, from as far as Australia, Philippines, Holland and Sweden.
“It is something different, but we did it because we thought it would be a laugh.
“We also raised a few bob for the charity
Addaction, which offers a residential rehabilitation service to help people beat their problems with drugs and alcohol, so you can’t get much better than that.
“It is fantastic for family bonding – it is another memory for the family album. We will absolutely be defending our title next year, I would not miss it for the world.”
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