HUNDREDS of people flocked to Ramsbottom town centre for the return of the annual World Black Pudding Championships today.

People from across the world travelled to the town to take part in the annual event, which sees competitors hurl the local delicacy onto a 20ft-high plinth in a bid to dislodge a dozen Yorkshire puddings.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Participants had three attempts to knock down as many Yorkshires as possible, with only underarm throws permitted.

And this year’s top pudding lobber was Andrew Ferrier, aged 44, from Wombourne, near Wolverhampton. He toppled seven Yorkshire puddings, enough to take the title back to the West Midlands, following in the footsteps of his friend Nick Pennell who won last year’s event.

Mr Ferrier, who works in house and garden maintenance, has been travelling to the event with a group of five friends for the last five years.

He said: “My brother used to know someone who works up here and they were arguing about who did the best black puddings, the black country or Ramsbottom. He said they had a black pudding throwing championship up here, so we said we have to come to that.

Lancashire Telegraph:

“We come up every year on the train. It’s a lads weekend.

“It feels mad to have won. I knocked three off last year, but I have never done this well. In the three years before last, I never even touched them.

“The trick is just getting them up high so that they come back down on top of the Yorkshire puddings.”

He takes home £100 prize money and a trophy.

While Mr Ferrier and friends had clearly honed their skills over the past few years and were out to win, many others took part purely for the fun if it, including a group of police officers who took a break from their duties to take part.

An enthusiastic crowd cheered on competitors of all ages, undeterred by the fact that the majority failed to knock down a single pudding.

John Gradwell had travelled to the event from Gisburn in Lancashire with his step son Andy Kay.

He said: “We were meant to go on the Rail Ale Trail together for my birthday present, but when we stopped in Ramsbottom and learned about this, we decided to stay, so we’ve missed the train.

“I have had to ring my wife and ask her to come and pick us up.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

Black pudding throwing is said to date back to the War of the Roses, where legend has it that during the final battle in Stubbins, the troops ran out of ammunition and resorted to throwing food at each other.

Black pudding was thrown by the Lancashire troops, while Yorkshire pudding were thrown by their counterparts.

The tradition was revived by Stubbins Community Trust in 1984, and has been a popular event ever since.

It was initially held at the Corner Pin pub in Stubbins, however, when the pub closed in May 2003, the landlord at the Royal Oak, now the Oaks, in Bridge Street, stepped in to offer it a new home, and it has been held there ever since.

Organiser Phil Taylor said: “It has gone really well. The queues of people taking part has been constant since we started at 11am.”