Worm charming returns to Blackawton

By Kate Cotton   |   Dartmouth Reporter   |
Sunday 8th May 2022 4:00 pm
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The under 11s class winners, the Worm Raiders team, with 27 worms. Left to right - George Tucker, Ella Steele, Indigo Dean and Arthur Dickinson
The under 11s class winners, the Worm Raiders team, with 27 worms. Left to right - George Tucker, Ella Steele, Indigo Dean and Arthur Dickinson (contributed )

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Worm charmers returned for the 36th Blackawton International Festival of Worm Charming last Sunday. (May 1)

After a two-year pandemic break the village was once more able to celebrate the art of worm charming – with teams raising the invertebrates from the ground with an assortment of musical instruments, watering devices and other implements.

A ‘toast to the worm’ at the George Inn was followed by a procession to ‘secret field’ with folk musicians, Samba band and fancy dress. David Kelland, founder of the event in 1984, led the procession wearing the same suit he wore in 1984 albeit a little tighter around the waist.

The big build up to the event started with a ‘worming up’ period for five minutes followed by fifteen minutes of worm charming - all under the watchful eye of a ‘worm master’ and other officials.

The worming was part of the Village Day, with an assortment of other entertainment including dog shows, model car racing, live music and a charity auction – all raising funds for Devon Air Ambulance and other local charities.

A spokesperson said: “The main event, without doubt, was the worm charming with separate categories for adults and under 11s. Much fun and revelry ensued amongst the 50 plus entries before the results could be announced, although the recent long spell of dry weather ensured there was little chance of beating the 1986 record of 149 worms.”

The under 11s class was won by the Worm Raiders team of George Tucker, Ella Steele, Indigo Dean and Arthur Dickinson with 27 worms. In second place was the Worm Terminators with 22 worms and third, the Wriggly Rileys with 15 worms.

The Pirates team of Paul, Sophia and Ali Girardot won the adult class with 30 worms. In second place was Team Wiggles with 18 worms, and third team Judith Charmers with 15 worms.

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