For more than 130 years, the Goostrey Gooseberry Show has been a staple of the Cheshire countryside. But this year’s event has been marred by an unlikely row in which a champion grower has accused a rival of poisoning his prized crop.
Terry Price, 76, first entered the show when he was 18 and claimed his eleventh victory as the winner of last year’s socially distanced competition.
However, he has now claimed there was a deliberate attempt to sabotage his efforts to retain the title at last Saturday’s event, after 46 out of 50 of his gooseberry trees were killed with a poisonous chemical.
The incident happened around three months ago and was an act of malice on the part of someone wishing to ruin his hopes of winning two titles in a row, Mr Price said.
The alleged sabotage attempt appears to have been successful, as he only finished seventh in the competition, with his top fruit weighing in at just 28 grams, just over half of his prize-winning 50g gooseberry in the previous year’s contest.
“They have been tampered with, there’s no doubt about that,” Mr Price said. “I could have cried when I found out because so much work goes into it and then it’s all gone like that.
“They know exactly where my best trees are and that’s what they’ve targeted, which is why this year’s competition has been such a struggle.”