Page last updated at 15:30 GMT, Monday, 31 August 2009 16:30 UK

Wrestlers take to the gravy ring

The World Gravy Wrestling Championships winner Joel Hicks
Fire crews hosed down gravy-soaked competitors

Wrestling competitors have been bidding for a world title in 40,000 portions of out-of-date gravy.

The Rose 'n' Bowl pub in Stacksteads, Lancashire, hosted the World Gravy Wrestling Championships.

Bisto provided 2,000 litres (440 gallons) of gravy past its best before date for the contest, which raised money for the East Lancashire Hospice.

Joel Hicks, a 30-year-old barrister wrestling under the name of Stone Cold Steve Bisto, won the contest.

Local fire crews were called in to hose down the 16 participants after their bouts in the wrestling ring.

My technique was really just to grab hold of the guy and hope for the best
Joel Hicks
World Gravy Wrestling Champion

Carol Lowe, 37, landlady of the pub, said: "We normally have to make the gravy ourselves, which is a bit of a nightmare, but this year Bisto stepped in.

"All the proceeds are going to East Lancashire Hospice, so it is just a nice day for everyone involved."

More than 100 people gathered to watch the battle with wrestlers travelling from Devon, Derby, Scarborough and Leicester.

'Big surprise'

Mr Hicks said: "It is a bit crazy - it is the third time I have done this event, so to finally win it is fantastic.

"The final was really tough and it is much more difficult than you think. My technique was really just to grab hold of the guy and hope for the best."

Emma Slater, 23, from Oldham, won the women's bout dressed as Mrs Christmas.

She said: "I didn't register until the last minute because I was only meant to be holding up the cards at the end of each round, so it has all come as a big surprise."

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