Men swap sheds for baking

Sarah Beale and Ali VowlesMen more used to building sheds and putting up shelves swapped their tool kits for baking trays to take part in a charity cake making competition.

The group of 17 guys, aged from 16 to 84, accepted the challenge to create a Victoria sponge to help raise money for St Mary’s Church in Wotton-under-Edge.

The competition was organised as part of the annual fete which is run by the church.

Shirley Wyse, who organised the cake competition, said her husband Roger had come up with the idea of a men-only contest.

She said: “We had a flurry of interest from men wanting to be involved with it. Many of them had no experience of baking a cake before.

“We kept it simple and asked them to produce a 7-inch diameter Victoria sponge. There was a lot of healthy competition between them all and some interesting variations on the recipe. But we had plenty of enthusiasm and, occasionally, a little friendly rivalry.”

The winner of the contest, inspired by television hit The Great British Bake-Off – which returned to BBC One this week – was Chris Lowther, although Shirley said that judge Sarah Beale had been pleasantly surprised by all the entries.

Shirley said: “Sarah was very impressed with the standard, particularly as she realised that this was a first effort at baking for many of the competitors.”

The fete, which also included a raffle, games, and a barbecue, raised more than £4,000. It will be split between the church and two charities.

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