Youngsters get claws stuck into contest

HUNDREDS of young competitors did their best to tempt crafty crustaceans from their muddy lairs in creeks alongside the River Blyth during the 24th British Open Crabbing Championships yesterday.

By David Lennard

HUNDREDS of young competitors did their best to tempt crafty crustaceans from their muddy lairs in creeks alongside the River Blyth during the 24th British Open Crabbing Championships yesterday.

More than 650 competitors registered for the annual contest at Walberswick, near Southwold, and with their many supporters and friends there were several thousand people crowded into the coastal village.

Conditions could hardly have been better and the perfect weather helped ensure everyone had a fine day.


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Organisers were delighted to see so many people and were confident the chosen charities would benefit.

During the afternoon BBC Five Live radio presenter Simon Mayo was able to hand over a cheque for £1,000 to Jenny Howell of the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

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The money was raised during last year's crabbing championships.

Mr Mayo, who lives in the Walberswick area, also took part in this year's championship with his four-and-a-half-year-old son Joe.

"We had great fun but did not manage to land a single crab," said Mr Mayo.

However, he admitted he had received a number of tips and was confident of an improvement next year.

"After we had finished I was told that 15 past winners all went to the same area and that is where we will be next year," he said.

At the end of the 90-minute crabbing championships there was the nerve-tingling weigh-in and it was clear that the competition was extremely close as some crabs had to be weighed again before the results were announced.

The winner was nine-year-old Imogen Wiltshire, of Holton, near Halesworth, who had landed a 4oz crab.

Two brothers, nine-year-old Jack Foster and five-year-old Guy Foster, of Tivetshall, near Diss, came second and third with crabs of 3 ½ oz and 3 oz respectively.

Imogen was presented with her first prize of £50, a gold medal, and the championship trophy by Mr Mayo.

Jack Foster received the runners-up prize of £30 and a silver medal while Guy won £20 and a bronze medal.

Robin Buncombe, one of the organisers, said: "We hope that everyone who came along today consider themselves winners.

"We have had a great fun day and raised money for charity and this is what the crabbing championships are all about."

This year all the proceeds will be donated to the Macmillan Nurses Cancer Relief Fund and the Ipswich Children's Hospice.

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