Festival Wriggles To Great Success 2009: The 28th

Festival wriggles to great success

THE 28th annual International Worm Charming Festival at Blackawton saw a bumper crop of the wiggly creatures captured by the winning team.
Land near the village hall was turned into a hunting ground for the 86 teams, with a total of 258 worm charmers combing their own small patch of ground in the ‘secret field’ looking for their slippery prey. The field is kept secret to prevent cheating, apart from Official Cheat Ashley Stevens who is allowed to plant as many worms as he wants on his patch. Rain on Saturday night primed the ground and the worms were eager to come out — with the winning team, called Why, snaring 106 worms to snatch the title. Worm master and event organiser Nick Smith said: “It was a very, very good competition and to catch that number of worms is an exceedingly high number.” The internationally-renowned event attracts entrants from overseas with Spanish and Australians taking part in the competition. Each team is made up of three people — a charmer, a catcher and a counter — and Nick Smith, worm master since 2001, said the ‘mission statement’ of the festival was to raise £1,000 for Devon Air Ambulance, adding that he believed that had already been achieved by 3pm on Sunday.
“We have had about 1,500 people in the village and so if they all give a pound then we will easily reach that.

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