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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 September, 2004, 11:23 GMT 12:23 UK
Thousands enjoy traditional fair
Tommy Mattinson
Competitors from around the world took part in the competition
Thousands of people enjoyed a weekend of traditional events in an event which traces its roots to medieval times.

The climax of the Egremont Crab Fair was the world gurning championship, held on Saturday night.

Defending champion Tommy Mattinson retained his title for the fourth year in a row. In the women's competition Kath Taylor came first.

The competition attracted entrants from across the world including Australia, New Zealand and Sweden.

The gurning championships involve contestants pulling farces through a horse collar or "braffin".

International interest

The Crab Fair was first held in 1267, when King Henry III granted a Royal Charter for a weekly market and an annual fair.

The opening of this year's event was marked with the choosing of the Crab Fair Queen.

Other activities were a family bike ride, fell race, a parade, a range of field events and Cumberland wrestling.

One of the fair's popular events was not held this year because of insurance problems.

The greasy pole involves competitors shinning up a 40 ft pole, which has a leg of lamb on top.

Street manager Arthur Baxter said: "Despite the threat of the weather, we were actually very lucky.

"It was a tremendous weekend. It's really been a good year.

"The world gurning championship was a good night and included an Australian competitor, our first Swedish entry and two girls from New Zealand who were touring England and had heard about the competition.

"It attracted quite a bit of attention."

In pictures: World Gurning Championship
19 Sep 04  |  In Pictures
Face puller grabs gurning prize
21 Sep 03  |  Cumbria
Gurners go for gold
15 Sep 01  |  UK News

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