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Celebrating best of west

By Herald Express  |  Posted: September 28, 2012

  • POURING A PINT: Dave Hedge, left, and John Whitehead Torquil MacLeod TQTM20120921C-001_C

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FOODIE fanatics have enjoyed the best of the South West at this year's Abbfest.

Celebrity chef Michael Caines and radio personality Judi Spiers were among guests at the festival held at Fermoy's Garden Centre, Ipplepen.

Thousands enjoyed live cooking demonstrations, music and ale.

John Whitehead, committee member, said: "It was very good. It gets better each year and much more organised.

"The weather on Sunday must have put some people off but we didn't do too badly.

"Last year, we had 7,000 people this year it was between 6,000 and 6,500 people.

"We don't know how much money was raised yet but last year it was £27,000 so we are hoping for something similar to hand out to local groups."

The bar was well stocked with 140 ales and 30 ciders all brewed in Devon. Some sold out on Friday night.

Mr Whitehead said: "We had a lot of sponsors as every keg of beer was sponsored. But the main sponsors were Fermoy's and Calorgas and we are very grateful for their support.

"We also had about 350 volunteers helping out so we could not do it without them."

Sarah Dumont, Fermoy's spokesman, said: "Saturday was a triumph for everybody. The weather was glorious and visitors sat outside enjoying the music and the great atmosphere.

"Unfortunately, Sunday was a difficult day, the torrential rain and the fact that a fallen down tree closed the main road were pretty challenging but in true British spirit, we still had a good turnout of hardy visitors who squelched through the mud and still managed to have a good day."

Music performances came from Raspberry Fish, Flats and Sharp, Solar, Abbotskerswell Singers and Men Behaving Tradly.

The winners of the pub quiz were Bishops Crooks who donated their £300 winnings to the Brittle Bone Society.

Mr Whitehead said: "Michael Caines came along on Saturday to do a cookery demo with Judi Spiers and there was lots of food — everything from Caribbean to crepes.

"Everybody was very pleased with the outcome. When you think back to where we started in 2004 now it is this great monster event. So we would say thank you to everybody who came along."

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