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Pumpkin Patch at WHS

Pumpkin Patch at WHS

In March 2018, every child at Winchester House was given an envelope containing five ‘mystery’ pumpkin seeds from varieties including Early King, Snowman, Early Abundance, Hooligan, Knuckle Head and Atlantic Giant. Six months later, and after much care and attention over the scorching summer months, the children’s (and parents) green fingers definitely paid off!

The sheer volume of pumpkins making their way into school on Monday 15th October for the Centenary Pumpkin Festival was clearly demonstrated by the grid lock on the school drive as children hauled pumpkins of all descriptions out of car boots. Ornately carved, extraordinarily decorated and all manner of sizes of pumpkins made their way to tables by the Upper Arch and Pre-Prep. A combination of tremendously creative minds, and one of the rainiest Sundays on record, made for a fabulous field of entries ranging from a six-pumpkin ‘Hungry Caterpillar’, Spiderman and a family of hedgehogs to artistically carved scenes of ghosts, spiders and hairy monsters! 

The ‘biggest/heaviest’ pumpkin category was fiercely contested with O Danby’s brute of a pumpkin weighing in at 34.4kg, hotly pursued by M Bowen’s 34.1kg whopper! The ‘smallest’ pumpkins were ridiculously cheeky with R Scott-Hopkins’ 0.1kg winning entry fitting into an egg cup! The 49.2kg pumpkin donated to the festival by the National Trust’s kitchen garden at Stowe was much admired and made its way to the School kitchens with a selection of other organically grown varieties to be made into break-time ‘pumpkin, ginger and chilli’ soup (recipe below).

The judging panel, comprising Emma Goldsmith, Head Gardener Sam Webster-Smith, Aldo Baldwin from Catering and Katie Applin from Hospitality, had a hard task ahead when judging ‘Best Decorated/Carved’. After much deliberation, H Blackwell scooped first place in Pre-Prep with his ‘Happy Halloween’ pumpkin, C Allan won the Seligman competition with her ‘Pumpkin eating a pumpkin’ and L Southan won the Years 5-8 competition with her ‘Glitter Rainbow’ pumpkin. The judges agreed that choosing a winner was highly subjective, with every entry deserving of recognition.


  • Biggest / Heaviest N Lynes – Reception, 19.7kg
  • Smallest  R Scott-Hopkins – Year 1, 0.1kg
  • Decorated/Carved - 1st H Blackwell – Reception, ‘Happy Halloween’. 2nd M Ziekinski – Nursery, ‘Beads & Streamers’. 3rd E Lissauer – Reception, ‘Party Pumpkin’. Highly Commended: A Berrie in Reception (hedgehogs), F & C Angus in Year 1 (beautifully decorated boxes with photos of the growing period) and D Irvine (WHS logo).  


  • Biggest/Heaviest M Bowen, 34.1kg in Year 4.
  • Smallest J Godber, 0.11kg, Year 3.
  • Decorated/Carved 1st C Allan, Year 4, ‘Pumpkin eating pumpkin’. 2nd L Thomson, Year 3, ‘Hairy Pumpkin wearing glasses’. 3rd J Lee, Year 3, ‘Scary Pumpkin’. Highly commended: ‘H Lissauer in Year 4, ‘Carved pumpkin’, N Ollei in Year 3 ‘Carved pumpkin’ and K Simplicanne, Year 3, ‘Bandit’.  

Years 5-8

  • Biggest/Heaviest O Danby, 34.4kg, Year 6.  
  • Smallest A Dicks, 0.2kg, Year 6.  
  • Decorated/Carved 1st L Southan, Year 6, ‘Glitter rainbow pumpkin’.2nd W Milligan, ‘Umbrella Pumpkin’, Year 8. 3rd F McGowan, Year 6, ‘psychedelic centenary vase of daisies'. Highly commended: M Cowper-Hart, Year 8, for his ‘hairy’pumpkin, B Shortridge, Year 5, for ‘Spiderman’, A Sagar, Year 5 for ‘Frankenstein’ and B Cooke, Year 5, for his ‘knobbly pumpkin’.