Poor crop threatens Roman Empire conker event

Conkers The Bardon Mill and Roman Empire Conker Championship is in its 19th year

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A conker competition in Northumberland is under threat because of a poor harvest of horse chestnuts.

The event, due to take place on 16 October, has attracted competitors from Australia and New Zealand in the past.

But unless bigger horse chestnuts can be found, the organisers of the event, at Bardon Mill, will be forced to call it off.

Organisers say the conkers need to be at least 5cm (2in) across to be entered into the event.

Geeta Bannister, from the Bardon Mill and Roman Empire Conker Championship committee, said this year's crop was so small that hardly any conkers of the required size had been found.

She said that conker hunters had been dispatched to Yorkshire, but they were too small there as well.

Mrs Bannister added: "Hopefully between now and next weekend the rain will make them swell a bit.

"But right now we are issuing a plea to anyone who spots a decent sized conker to get in touch."

If the competition goes ahead, conkers and strings will be provided on the day and there will be competitions for four different age groups.

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