THE COMPETITORS of the cooking, flower and fruit displays were out in force at the weekend at the Hurst Horticultural Show.

Entrants were up by almost a quarter on the previous year's show buoyed by the popularity of shows like the Great British Bake Off.

Around 850 entries were made into the growing, preserves, cake baking and displaying categories.

Show chairman Kathy Tuggey said: “The show was a huge success. We’re delighted with the interest from our enthusiastic exhibitors and would like to thank them for their hard work.

“The youngsters had busy summer holidays with their entries up almost 50 per cent. We worked with schools to encourage interest in our new children’s growing classes.

“The cookery and creative sections attracted almost 40 per cent more entries. One jam class had 20 pots for judging. A new fun class for Limerick poetry writing was popular."

She added that television shows had helped interest by encouraging people to have a go.

The Dearmans family, of Broadwater Road, Twyford, entered an staggering 65 classes between them, winning around 15 prizes. Dad Howard won the hotly contested men’s apple flan class for the fourth time. He credited the win to fresh apples from his Hurst Road allotment.

Mum Karen’s chickens produced prize winning eggs and daughter Sarah, 16, scooped first prizes for painting and clay work. Her brother Andrew, 11, entered 20 classes and was rewarded with prizes.

The family of grandfather Edwin Jarvis, 78, of Hurst, also did well. Mr Jarvis won the AF Jarvis cup for pot plants for the first time and also the best flowers trophy. The pot plants cup was presented in memory of his father Arthur Jarvis who helped restart the show after World War II.

Prizes won by his daughter Liz Bolton and her children Adam, 13, and Abby, 11, earned them the St Nicholas Family cup. Mr Jarvis’s sister Betty Smith won cups for most flowers points and for dahlias.