The Dethronement of a Chomping Champion

The Long Marston and Puttenham Village Show of 1986 was, as usual, a popular and well attended occasion, with the usual attractions of the Dog Show, Clay Pigeon Shoot, Children’s Fancy Dress and Pony Rides.

But there was only one event that attracted the attention of the local press, and that was the triumph of a local hero.

We can only rely on the press account here because it is difficult to find eye witnesses; even those who were there at the time cannot recall the details of the dethroning of the Doughnut Chomping Champion. We cannot even be sure which local paper revealed the story as all we have from the archives is a cutting, likely to have been either the Tring Gazette or the Bucks Herald.

August 2nd 1986

The newspaper article goes back in history to report that the remarkable Michael Cheney of Tring had won the doughnut eating competition, sponsored by Atkins Bakery, at every show since 1972 until the day of his dethronement on that dramatic day in August 1986. Even more unbelievable than this 14 year unbeaten record was the fact that his best score was to devour 17 doughnuts in the allowed time of one minute.

On this momentous day all Cheney could achieve was a miserable 5 doughnuts which was not enough to beat the new champion whose picture is displayed next to the newspaper article, in glorious mid-chomp. His triumph was not without reward; the prize from Atkins was to have six free donuts each week for the following year.

This flashback has been possible as a result of work we are doing in cooperation with the Village Horti Society, describing their history since foundation in 1936. The finished work will include more details of this dramatic event, the picture of the victorious new champion and the revelation of his name; he is someone who is well known in the community and has gone on to make an even greater contribution to village life since that triumphant day.

To complement our research into horti history we are looking for photographs of village show activities, particularly those that go back to the last century. Please contact info@tringruralhistory.co.uk if you can help.

Drone photo credit Will Adams

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