December 12 2013 Latest news:
Friday, October 18, 2013
Hundreds of competitive souls marched onto Hampstead Heath this weekend with dreams of conquering their rivals to become this year’s conker champion.
More than 200 did battle in the Heath’s annual conker contest on Sunday, the highlight of the Heritage Festival held outside the Parliament Hill café.
The annual tournament previously broke the Guinness World Record for biggest-ever knock-out conker championship, set in 2011 when 395 people took part.
Although not record-breaking, Heath staff were pleased with the turnout this year given the poor weather.
Paul Maskell, the Heath’s leisure and events manager, who was defeated by his 14-year-old daughter Caitlin Maskell, said: “It was a shocking day. We all got completely soaked setting it up.
“It just shows the conker championships are becoming a regular item in people’s social calendars, because there were over 200 people playing conkers.”
The Royal Crown of Conkers, awarded to the winner, went to Terry Walls in the adult category, who defeated double former champion Neil Sikka, who took home the prize in 2010 and 2011.
Other winners were Mr Maskell’s daughter Caitlin, 14 to 18 champion, Casey, who took the prize for eight to 14-year-olds, under-eight champion Robert, seven, and Sahyla Borg, four, who won in the under-5s group.
The Heritage Festival also featured other old-fashioned activities like welly-wanging, felt-making and storytelling.