November 2010

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(NOTE: This is an archived press release.)

Give Writtle College’s agricultural lecturer David Finkle a pumpkin and a scalpel and he can turn it into a record breaking affair. David has been working with the BBC on pumpkin carving Guinness World Record attempts during the count down to the spookiest date in the international calendar – Halloween.

David’s successful record attempts will be televised during an autumn special episode of Countryfile on Sunday 31 October. The main world record undertaken by David is ‘the most pumpkins carved in an hour’, which David smashed by doubling the existing world record of 50 pumpkins to 102. The rules state that each carved pumpkin only needs to take on traditional Jack o’ Lantern Halloween effect and should include details such as a smile, eyes, ears and a nose.

“After just half an hour I had beaten the existing world record by carving faces into 54 pumpkins” said David “following this initial success the decision was quickly made for me to carry on in a further attempt to double the existing record in the hour set.”

“There is just one more pumpkin carving world record I would like to attempt and that is to see how long it would take me to carve one ton of pumpkins – the existing record for this is four hours. I will be looking to attempt this next Halloween!”

As a warm up to the main event David attempted the world record to see how quickly he could carve a traditional Jack o’ Lantern Halloween face effect into a pumpkin. The original record stood at 24 seconds and David beat this record by carving his in just over 20 seconds.

Following his world record successes, David went on to carve three pumpkin portraits of Countryfile presenters John Craven, Julia Bradbury, and Matt Baker. Furthermore, the BBC had brought a six stone ‘sumo’ pumpkin to the carving site and David carved the Countryfile logo and the words Autumn Special which was later filmed as a feature to be included in the programme to be aired on Sunday.

David’s talent for pumpkin carving does not stop at carving Jack o’ Lantern’s, he is also renowned for transforming pumpkins into ghostly, 3-D faces of celebrities – David Beckham, Anne Robinson and Barack Obama included. David first draws a face from a photograph and then transfers it with a knife to a hollowed out pumpkin “People like Prince Charles, or Mick Jagger, with plenty of creases and laughter lines, are best,” says David. “Cheryl Cole was difficult because she has such even and flawless features.”

David’s Guinness World Record attempts were made and filmed on location at a pumpkin farm in Aldham, Colchester Essex - Bullbanks Farm.