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World Gravy Championships

The title of this post might sound like a wildly Northern version of the Great British Bake Off, or the local Women’s Institute Victoria Sponge competition, but it’s actually a very serious competition.

Held in what is considered the international home of gravy – the village of Stacksteads, Lancashire – participants grapple in gravy to fight over the title of World Gravy Champion for charity.

This year was particularly intense, with fourteen men and six women fighting to the bitter end whilst a referee oversaw the events. With fighting alter-egos, including one man dressed as an Oompa Loompa, ‘Gravy Gaga’, Oscar the Grouch, a giant Union Jack, and even a tiger, the competitors aim on raising over £3,000 for good causes such as the East Lancashire Hospice.

Denise Gee, the event fundraiser for the East Lancashire Hospice said, “This all started off as a bit of fun eight years ago, but it’s become the World Gravy Wrestling Championships and it’s now really well supported. It raises a substantial amount for patient care – around £3,000 to £3,500 each year. It’s a great day out and everyone has fun, but at the same time they raise money for the hospice.”

Ms Gee once took part in the competition herself, dressed as Santa and can warn both spectators and other participants that “from personal experience, it is pretty sticky”.

The event attracts thousands of spectators from all around the North West each year, despite chilly winds and threateningly grey clouds not dampening crowds, or competitor spirits.

The Championships use a staggering one thousand litres of gravy in advance to the event, which involves contestants wrestling in gravy for two minutes before a winner is announced. A further five hundred litres were used to ‘top-up’ the pool which sees famous characters try to win the audience over before beating their rival.

This year, the Championships even incorporated their own version of the popular ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’, where members of the crowd, and the participants were also offered a chance to pour gravy over their head to raise awareness for great causes instead.

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