Pumped up to win – for King’ Jack

PUBLISHED: 15:20 19 October 2006 | UPDATED: 14:52 12 May 2010

Phoebe Gifford and Cindy Wilson with the fruits of their labour - Pic: Dan Wilson 1962DW1

Phoebe Gifford and Cindy Wilson with the fruits of their labour - Pic: Dan Wilson 1962DW1

THE legacy of Ashwell s Pumpkin King lives on – after a mum and daughter won the largest pumpkin trophy at the villages horticultural show. For eight years, the popular Jack Gifford successfully took the crown as the best pumpkin farmer in Ashwell. And

THE legacy of Ashwell's Pumpkin King lives on - after a mum and daughter won the largest pumpkin trophy at the villages horticultural show.

For eight years, the popular Jack Gifford successfully took the crown as the best pumpkin farmer in Ashwell.

And in March Jack, or the 'Pumpkin King' as he was affectionately known, planted a number of Atlantic Giant seeds in the hope of winning a ninth trophy.

However, just weeks after planting the seeds, he sadly passed away at the age of 80.

But Jack's wish came true when his wife Phoebe, 85, and daughter Cindy Wilson, 53, took over the care of the seeds.

Cindy said: "We weren't sure what to do at first, because this was always dad's job.

"We looked back at all his newspaper clippings to see what he used to do. We read back and used his various tips and as you can see - they worked!

"Dad planted the seeds in the hope of winning, and we wanted to win it for him and continue his work."

Phoebe, of Kirby Manor Farm, Ashwell added: "It was a lovely feeling to find out that we had won, and I thought of Jack straight away.

"He loved his gardening and spent his whole life in the garden or on the farm.

"He loved watching the pumpkins grow and always seemed to grow the biggest.

"We tried to see if we could beat his, but we just missed out."

Their winning pumpkin weighed in at 142 lb - 2lb lighter than Jack's 2005 winner.

Cindy added: "Mum and I worked really well together, and I think that Dad would have been really proud of us both.

"I'm not sure whether we will enter next year, although it would be nice to keep the trophy in the family for a tenth year - we'll just have to wait and see."

Liz Moynihan, chairman of Ashwell's Horticultural Society, said: "I think it's absolutely brilliant. I am really thrilled that Phoebe and Cindy are carrying on the tradition, and growing pumpkins.

"Jack will always be missed and never forgotten - there are lots of pictures of him peering over his pumpkins!"

PUMPKIN FACTFILE

- In 2001 Jack grew a pumpkin that weighed a staggering 180 lb

- The largest pumpkin pie ever made was more than five feet in diameter and weighed more than 350lb

- The largest pumpkin ever grown weighed 1,140lb

- Pumpkins are 90 percent water

- You can get blue, green, white, purple and pink pumpkins

- Pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites


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