Yes, it's real: Merv set to show 80-odd kilograms worth of prize pumpkin

WHOPPER: Merv Parlett, who has been involved in the Royal Bathurst Show for 60 years, has been busy growing what he hopes will be a prize-winning pumpkin. Photo: ZENIO LAPKA  042314zmerv2c

WHOPPER: Merv Parlett, who has been involved in the Royal Bathurst Show for 60 years, has been busy growing what he hopes will be a prize-winning pumpkin. Photo: ZENIO LAPKA 042314zmerv2c

ONE of the Royal Bathurst Show’s longest supporters could have another prize-winning pumpkin on his hands at the big event, which kicks off on Friday.

Merv Parlett is a life member of the show society and has been growing large and unusual vegetables for display at the annual show for about 60 years.

In recent months the 84-year-old, who lives at the Whiddon Group’s residential aged care home in Kelso, has been busy growing an Atlantic Giant pumpkin.

“I started growing it around November. I’m predicting it will weight between 70 and 80 kilograms, but we won’t weigh it untill we take it to the show,” he said.

Mr Parlett noted while the pumpkin was smaller than the 150-kilogram pumpkin his late wife grew back in 2007, it was still a good size.

“That was the biggest we ever grew,” he said.

“But considering I planted this one so late in the season, it has gone very good.”

Mr Parlett said growing the pumpkin was a labour of love and noted he had always enjoyed growing and tending to vegetables. 

“Every night I cover up the pumpkin with a hessian sack and a blanket to stop the frosts getting it,” he said.

“I make sure it gets plenty of water and the recent rain has been really good. The women here have also helped me grow it,” he added.

Mr Parlett said the show had always been one of the highlights of his year and he was looking forward to seeing what everyone else had grown.

Deputy director of care services Michelle Sharwood said Mr Parlett’s magnificent pumpkin was the talk of the residential care home.

“I don’t know how many times people have seen it and asked if it is actually real, because it is so big.”

She said it was wonderful to see the joy that working on the pumpkin brought Mr Parlett and noted that residents and staff had watched its progress with keen interest. 

Ms Sharwood added that other residents would be entering works in the tapestry, cross-stitch and painting categories at the show.

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