A GARDENER has outdone himself for the second time by growing this monster pumpkin – smashing his two previous records.
Keith Davison grew this mammoth pumpkin, weighing a whopping 15st 7lbs and measuring 27in across and 16in high, for an annual competition held at Blackhall Navy Club.
The event raised an impressive £1,300 for Hartlepool RNLI, which has strong links to the Navy Club’s fishing club.
The gigantic vegetable, which is 6ft in circumference, weighs about four stone more than Keith and dwarves his efforts which won him previous contests.
It is more than twice the weight of his 2011 effort, which weighed seven-and-a-half stone.
And in 2009, Keith’s entry weighed 5st 5lbs and was 2ft-tall.
This year his nearest rival’s pumpkin weighed eight stone.
The bricklayer, from Shaftesbury Avenue, in Blackhall, said the secret to his super-charged growing power is to “just fill it with water all the time.”
He added: “I’m over the moon, it’s just a bit of fun – nobody takes it seriously.”
Keith, who won £100 for his efforts, potted his pumpkin in April, keeping it in a greenhouse before planting it in the ground.
Transporting it to the nearby Navy Club took some doing.
Keith, 51, who is married to Lorraine and dad to Craig, 21, and Hannah, 20, said: “I had to put it in a sling and some Hessian and it took two people to pick it up and lift it into the van.
“It would have been impossible to lift it any higher than the floor of the van.”
Keith has been entering the competition since it began as a bit of fun six years ago.
This year there were 22 entries and Paul Harner managed to grow a pumpkin weighing 22st 7lbs.
It was decided not to enter Paul’s offering into the main event, but instead was kept for a Guess the Weight contest as part of the competition.
Glen Fallow, chairman of the Pumpkin Club, said gardeners were sponsored to grow the pumpkins and the money donated to the RNLI is £100 up on last year.
He added: “My pumpkin was a non-starter, it rotted in the ground.”
The Navy Club was packed on the night of the competition, with around 200 people.
Kathy Miller was the highest single sponsor-collector, raising £365.
Keith has donated the pumpkin to Wingate Children’s Centre, where daughter Hannah works, to be used during Halloween celebrations.
Wingate Childcare manager Vikki Wynn said: “We’ve never had a donation like it, and it’s brilliant for the children to see a pumpkin of this size.”
Mike Craddy, Hartlepool lifeboat operations manager said: “Quite a few years running, the club has supported us.
“We are a charity and without their kind support we wouldn’t be able to continue with our job of saving lives at sea, and it’s also a fun way of raising money.”