A NEW record was set at a quirky West Dorset event with dozens of people scoffing nettles.

A big crowd at The Bottle Inn, Marshwood, watched a new record being set at the world nettle eating championships which are held at the pub every summer.

Competitors have to eat as many two-feet stalks of nettles as possible in one hour and this year’s winner was 48-year-old Phil Thorne from Colyton in Devon who consumed 80 feet of nettles – beating the previous record of 76 feet set by Simon Slee 13 years ago.

Simon was among the spectators and congratulated Phil on his achievement.

Phil, who works as a chef for Waitrose at Sidmouth, was presented with a cup donated by Otter Brewery. It was the first time that he had entered the nettle eating championships.

The runner-up was Pete Wellman, who was bidding for his third victory in a row. He even exceeded his winning total of last year by two feet by consuming 62 feet but was well beaten by the determination of Phil.

The cup for the leading lady was won by Claire Brown, a 23-year-old teacher from Chard in Somerset. She managed to eat 46 feet of nettles in the allotted time which was more than double the amount achieved by last year’s winner of this prize.

Local farmer, Dave Hutchings, had taken on the task of cutting the thousands of stalks of nettles which were consumed by the competitors at the event.