Essex: Plucky pair battle it out for top turkey title

Paul Kelly and Vincent Pilkington following their pluck-off challenge Paul Kelly and Vincent Pilkington following their pluck-off challenge

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
4:05 PM

Two champion turkey pluckers went head-to-head in Essex today in a tense pluck-off.

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Vincent Pilkington and Paul Kelly at their pluck-off challengeVincent Pilkington and Paul Kelly at their pluck-off challenge

Irishman Vincent Pilkington, who holds the Guinness Book of Records title as the fastest plucker of a single turkey, beat his rival Paul Kelly of Kelly Turkeys in Danbury, to the record for the fastest to pluck three turkeys.

Vincent had challenged Paul to a champion-of-champions pluck off for the fastest with two turkeys.

The event took place at Paul’s home at Little Claydons Farm, Howe Green, near Chelmsford.

Two 17lb white hen turkeys were plucked by each contestant and Vincent won in a time of 11 minutes 08.33 seconds — with Paul finishing 33 seconds behind.

Expressing his delight at winning the challenge, Vincent wasn’t surprised the plucking time was a lot slower than his Guinness record time of only one minute 30 seconds for a single turkey recorded on RTE television back in 1980.

“Remember, I’m retired now, but I still like to keep my hand in helping local farmers with plucking their turkeys at Christmas around where I live at Cootehill in County Cavan — and it paid off today,” said Vincent.

Paul had to admit he came second best on this occasion — and congratulated his host whom he first met when they competed in the world plucking championships in Sussex in the early 1980s and again when Vincent used to help Kelly Turkeys with plucking during the 1990s.

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