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PAUL BETS ON HEDGING SKILLS

Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - 10:05

A STRONG field competed for the 16th annual IW Hedgelaying Competition at Hale Common, near Arreton.
Around 1,000 spectators watched as seasoned hedgelayers and youngsters from the IW College took part in the event organised by the IW Hedgerow Group and supported by the IW Council, on Saturday.
There was an upset in the open class with Paul Davies, of Mottistone, beating eight-times champion Dick Pulleine into second place, a reverse of the placings in 2004 when Paul last entered the competition.
As a National Trust warden in the West Wight, Paul, 38, lays about 300 metres of hedge in a year with his colleagues and since December the team have laid 170m for the trust.
Paul said: “I do a lot of hedgelaying with my job and I was really pleased to win.
“At the National Trust, we were taught hedgelaying by the late Len Lathwell, from Bembridge, and my win’s really a tribute to him.
“He was from a farming background but became an engineer who worked on the bouncing bomb with Barnes Wallis.
“He applied the same engineering precision to teaching us hedgelaying and I think he would have been very pleased about my win.”
Spectators also enjoyed a demonstration of hedgelaying alongside the 15 competition pitches by former supreme national champion Peter Tonks.
Organiser Tony Ridd said: “I suspect Peter’s section is the only hedge ever to be laid on the Island by a supreme champion.
“I was delighted by the number of entries and the enthusiasm of the youngsters from the IW College because hedgelaying is normally thought of as an older man’s game.
“Some of the students are as young as 16.”
More pictures in the Friday, February 29, County Press.

 


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