34th World Worm Charming Championship

Participants in the worm charming

All words and photos by Jonathan White, Wistaston.
The ‘34th World Worm Charming Championship’ - http://www.wormcharming.com/ - took place on the afternoon of Saturday 22nd June 2013 within the grounds of Willaston Primary School http://www.willastonprimary.com/ , Willaston, near Nantwich, Cheshire. The Championship started at 2pm and participants in each of the 144 plots had 30 minutes to collect as many worms as possible from their 3x3 metre plot. There were 'traditional' plots for teams of two and 'tag-team' plots for teams who wished to change their pairings throughout the charming period. Techniques included vibrating a garden fork, singing, playing a musical instrument and riding an adapted bicycle.
The Chief Wormer's trophy for youngest wormer was won by six-month old Ted Forster, who coincidentally is also the grandson of event organiser Mike Forster. Last year's trophy was won by a granddaughter of Mike, so worming clearly runs in the family! Most Promising Newcomer Award with 178 worms was Louis Loft. The Heaviest Worm trophy was won by five year old Harry Price at an impressive 6.5g. The Championship trophy for Most Worms was presented by Willaston Rose Queen Amy Smallman to eight year old Ellie-Jay Morris and granddad Steve Palmer with 303 worms on plot 98. The championships also included representatives from Australia (163 worms), the Philippines (105), Holland (212), India (42), Sweden (90), and Thailand (91).
The event was filmed by a BBC television crew with BBC Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton - http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc/stars/helen-skelton - collecting 54 worms with the help of schoolchildren which included Lewis Almond, aged 8, from Monks Coppenhall Primary School in Crewe. Lewis said, "I hope I'm on TV. It was very hard work. I caught three worms. It was brilliant to meet Helen." Helen kindly stayed behind after the competition to sign autographs and pose for photographs. The footage is due to be broadcast on Blue Peter - http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc/shows/blue-peter - on the CBBC channel this Thursday 27th June at 5:30pm.
Events in the arena and playground area included a performance by the Willaston School Percussion Band, dancing by the X Academy of Performing Arts, singing by the Funky Choir and the Willaston School Junior Choir and gymnastics from the Wingate Centre. The arena and adjacent areas were surrounded by charity stalls, an inflatable slide and food and drink outlets.
Fortunately, the rain stayed away all afternoon and was enjoyed by several hundred people.

BBC Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton