Out with the old in with the new – Crab Fair has a new Champion!

(L-R): Kevin Brown, 2nd place winner, Tommy Mattinson, World Gurning Championship winner, Gordon Blacklock, Paul Seath, Crab Fair Queen Ashton Telford and 3rd place winner, Adrian from Coventry.

(L-R): Kevin Brown, 2nd place winner, Tommy Mattinson, World Gurning Championship winner, Gordon Blacklock, Paul Seath, Crab Fair Queen Ashton Telford and 3rd place winner, Adrian from Coventry.

A Quirky fair with international fame, Egremont Crab Fair and World Gurning Championship had thousands flock over the weekend of the September 18 and 19.

It’s not unusual for the Market Hall to be packed on the Saturday evening, but an unusual occurrence did happen as the World Gurning Championship found it’s first new champion in since 2009 as it saw gurning legend Tommy Mattinson lose his crown.

The 16-time champion was beaten by Whitehaven’s Gordon Blacklock, who said he never expected to win the World Gurning Championships while Tommy was still competing.

Mr Blacklock said: “It feels great to win it again. 2009 was the last time, that was when Tommy couldn’t make it.”

This is Mr Blacklock’s 7th title and his 36th consecutive year entering the competition.

He also commented that more younger people should enter the competition. He said: “It’s a tradition that if we older folk didn’t enter it, it would die a death.”

A huge focus on this year was the memory of another gurning legend, Anne Woods. The Egremont gurner claimed her 28th Women’s Gurning Championship last year, but passed away this spring.

Her family and friends wore yellow T-shirts; Anne’s favourite colour and put on a slide show of pictures celebrating her life.

Kevin Brown, the Gurning World Championship competition presenter made an announcement after the slide show. He said: “Anne entered the competition 37 times and won 28 titles, that’s a statistic that anybody in any field of sport can respect. “It’s safe to say that as long as there is a Crab Fair and the World Gurning Championships, we will never forget Anne.”

Egremont’s Clair Spedding was the one to fill in the spot of Anne this year as she entered the Women’s Championship for the 19th time and won, making this her 2nd win ever.

The junior contest was won by 15-year-old Chanelle McDowell, from Egremont, who first entered when she was only three years old.

It was a spectacular event, also making the national news.

To quote the late Alan Read, Crab Fair is “The ‘sporting’ face of Egremont at its best”. It is difficult to refute this claim when Crab Fair has reached global fame for its hosting of the World Gurning Championships.