St John’s vicar hopes to make Lammas festival an annual event

THE GREAT, good, and slightly eccentric of Guernsey were battling it out yesterday afternoon to be crowned champion bread roller.

Les Amballes, outside St John’s Church, was closed for Guernsey’s first ever Lammas Festival, to mark Lammas Day, which is also known as Loaf Mass Day.

In the opening round, the Bailiff Richard McMahon, with a crouching tiger, hidden dragon style, overcame the Dean, the Very Rev. Tim Barker, who had a more upright, fluid stance.

Participants in the bread rolling competition were allowed three shots each and there were chalk markings in the road where they had to aim to get them to land.

Pam Cummins, left, Lizzie Roper, centre, Bailiff Richard McMahon. enjoying some of the bread baked for St John’s Church’s celebration of Lammas Day. (29824588)

It was a bit like a cross between bowls and shove ha’penny, but a lot more chaotic.

One of Mr McMahon’s rolls landed in the gutter alongside the top scoring area, and it was permitted, unlike the rules of ten pin bowling.

Trestle tables and chairs also took over the street, and there was a barbecue, a well-stocked bar just outside the main door to the church, and morris dancing.

At the bread making competition there was not a soggy bottom in sight, and the breads were being judged on their appearance, crust, crumb, smell and taste.

Judge Lizzie Roper said she could have devoured them all.

‘Some of the loaves really stood out, some I wanted to take hold of the maker and give them a hug. I’m in awe of anybody who can bake a loaf of bread, and then it was blatantly apparent that two of the loaves were head and shoulders above everybody else.

‘If I could take those loaves home and just sit down in front of the telly with some Guernsey butter, I’d be a very happy girl.’

A street party was held as part of the celebration.(29824592)

The Rev. Matthew Barrett, the vicar of St John’s Church, said they wanted to repeat the festival next year.

‘We wanted to get the community involved so it’s not just about church, we really wanted to bring people from our neighbourhood together to have a good time.

‘If we want to engage with the community we have to have things that the community is interested in, so there’s nothing wrong with having a pint, and the brewery is just down there so it’s partly in the parish.’

St John’s Church already has a bread theme, because Mr Barrett sells his homemade bread from a ‘hedge veg’ stall outside the church.

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