‘Keep your nerves and don’t let panic set in’ - Framlingham World Button Pairing Championship returns

Framlingham is hosting the third World Button Pairing Championships. Pictured,
l- r, Lesley Cloutin

Framlingham is hosting the third World Button Pairing Championships. Pictured, l- r, Lesley Clouting, Phoebe Sullivan and Sally Green show off some of the buttons. Picture: SARAH. LUCY BROWN

With the clock ticking and crowds cheering, tensions run high in the World Button Pairing Championship.

Framlingham is hosting the third World Button Pairing Championships. Pictured,
l- r, Lesley Cloutin

Framlingham is hosting the third World Button Pairing Championships. Pictured, l- r, Lesley Clouting, Phoebe Sullivan and Sally Green show off some of the buttons. Picture: SARAH. LUCY BROWN

“You need to stay focused,” says organiser Lesley Clouting.

“Keep your nerves rock-steady and don’t let the panic set in.”

Mrs Clouting, who manages Framlingham Library alongside her championship duties, said that with a silver trophy and bar of Fairtrade chocolate at stake it could be “quite competitive”.

Saturday’s third “world championship” in Framlingham is expected to be the most hotly contested yet.

Framlingham is hosting the third World Button Pairing Championships. Pictured,
l- r, Lesley Cloutin

Framlingham is hosting the third World Button Pairing Championships. Pictured, l- r, Lesley Clouting, Phoebe Sullivan and Sally Green show off some of the buttons. Picture: SARAH. LUCY BROWN

“It’s grown and grown over the years,” Mrs Coulting said.

“We have one stall set up in the market square but if it gets much bigger we may have to get a second one.”

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Competitors in categories for over and under 10s have a minute to pair as many buttons as they can from a central heap of various shapes, sizes and colours. To date, the record is 37 pairs. Mrs Clouting, whose personal best is 21, says it is a daunting challenge.

“When you’re up against the clock with people cheering, it can be overwhelming,” she added.

Mrs Clouting was first introduced to the game as a child by her grandmother. The idea to make it a competitive fixture arose during dinner parties.

“Everyone said ‘this is so much fun, you should do a fundraiser’,” she said. “So that’s what we did.”

The first championship raised around £150 for the library, which is being used for refurbishment, and also helped build its profile.

Mrs Clouting uses her own button collection with donations from library customers.

There are ladybirds and diamante designs as well as toggles and family heirlooms. One shiny pair was donated by a man his 80s, which came from his father’s First World War RAF uniform.

Mrs Clouting donated a pair taken from a pink dressing gown handmade by her mother, which she bought in Woolworths in 1966.

“Some of the buttons are quite precious to people,” she added. “The more beautiful they are the more interesting the game.”

The competition, organised by the Friends of Framlingham Library, runs from 9am-2pm in Market Hill. Entry is 50p for the under 10s and £1 for the older category. It coincides with the “Love Your Local Market” initiative, which Framlingham is part of this month. Customers buying from market stalls can receive a free “LYLM” bag with the chance to enter a raffle for a bag of goodies.