Saturday, 28 November 2015

Subscriptions  |  evouchers  |  Jobs  |  Property  |  Motors  |  Travel  |  Dating  |  Family Notices

Some very tall tales at World's Biggest Liar contest in Cumbria

Did you know the average Cumbrian is genetically two per cent badger?

Jack Harvey photo
Jack Harvey

That there’s a chippy on top of Scafell Pike called The Happy Plaice? And a runaway kitten got the bus to Egremont because he’d heard everything in Whitehaven was shut?

You couldn’t make it up.

Well, you could if you were Jack Harvey, Jimmy Mason or John “Johnny Liar” Graham.

They came first, second and third respectively in the annual Jennings’ World Biggest Liar competition at the Bridge Inn at Santon Bridge, near Gosforth, last night.

Eleven men and one woman gathered to tell tall tales in a contest commemorating famed liar Will Ritson of Wasdale (the 19th century publican achieved national fame for spinning yarns, such as how turnips in Wasdale were so big that people lived in them).

Jack Harvey, 25, of Harras Moor, Whitehaven, took the title – and the impressive trophy – on his first outing in the competition, sponsored by Cockermouth brewery Jennings and run in conjunction with Copeland Council.

“I don’t know if this is real or if it’s all part of the lie,” he said of his victory, saying he was “astounded” that he’d won.

His tale took in the fighting nature of the badgers – “deadlier than cobras or crocodiles... the Romans sent Christians to the badgers” – and how descendants of the Emperor Hadrian’s IXth Badger Cohort settled in Cumbria, affecting our genetic make-up.

The yarn spun by second-placed Jimmy Mason – alias the Rt Hon Septimus Peabody, Ambassador for the Big Society – took in Woodhouse International Airport, and the Greenbank Hilton, the chippy on Scafell Pike (to which fell runner Joss Naylor “runs 15 miles a night and 15 miles back, and his fish supper’s still hot when he gets home”) and the St Bernard rescue dog with hot mushy peas in a barrel round its neck.

He ended by telling of a Richard Branson-style entrepreneur who is bidding for a 30-year franchise so he can extend the La’al Ratty line to London Euston.

Third-placed Johnny Liar (or several times winner John Graham) told of herding up kittens with a heartbreaking refrain that brought enthusiastic audience participation: “I thowt it was deed!” (Aww!) “...but t’kitten was alive!” (Hooray!)

It was a night jam-packed with one-liners – “Joss Naylor’s cure for constipation is bracken: with fronds like this, who needs enemas?” – and of good-hearted local digs – “DFS are sponsoring Whitehaven RL and building them an all-seater stadium, just a couple of three-piece suites”

And it was a night of flights of fancy – did you know Copeland Council leader Elaine Woodburn was seen planting tatties in St Nicholas’ Gardens, or that sprinter Usain Bolt modelled his pose on the man from the Scotts Porridge Oats box?

Compere Charles Maudling kept things flowing, with a few good-humoured barbs at the judges along the way, who included the mayor of Copeland, Councillor Peter Tyson, Elaine Woodburn, and Stephen Oliver, managing director of Jennings' parent company Marstons.

But there was one last triumph for last year’s winner Glen Boylan from Maryport. Glen, 47, a member of charity fundraising group Extreme 13, had pledges from 12 local firms to each donate £25 to the Meningitis Trust if he finished in the top three.

He didn’t manage that – but sponsors Jennings did give him £500 for the charity which drew warm applause from the packed house to round off the night.

And that’s the truth.


News & Star What's On search


Has the bubble burst on Black Friday?

Yes. You can get bargains every day for weeks now

No way! I bagged a load of bargains

After the manic scenes of last year it was always going to settle down

Show Result

Hot jobs
Scan for our iPhone and Android apps
Search for: