Managing director hopes to flag up world record

A CHAMPION vegetable grower from the North-East looks likely to become a world record holder after cultivating a huge leek in his back garden.

A CHAMPION vegetable grower from the North-East looks likely to become a world record holder after cultivating a huge leek in his back garden.

John Soulsby, leek

John Soulsby’s effort weighed in at just over 18lb 5oz, smashing the previous best of 17lb13oz.

Having dug it up, the Gateshead man weighed it on his own set of scales before taking a trip to Northern Balance Ltd in nearby Lobley Hill to have the reading verified.

Mr Soulsby, 56, of Barrack Terrace, Kibblesworth, has been growing vegetables for 36 years and has won the National Vegetable Championships twice in his past three attempts.

Celebrating at home with his wife Fran yesterday, he said: “I’m very happy. I haven’t really tried to go for size.

“I’m going to try and get one over 20lb now. It’s a very competitive business – not just in the North-East either. I grow everything in my garden, both to eat and to exhibit.”

As well as picking up a national award this year in Worcestershire, Mr Soulsby also won a regional competition in Harrogate attended by Prince Charles.

To confirm the record Mr Soulsby, the managing director of a flower and plant wholesaler, had to have his leek weighed at a registered company and checked for damage by two registered judges.

He then filled in a form on the Guinness World Records website and is waiting for confirmation of his achievement.

He said: “If it is confirmed, I will be delighted.

“It’s an absolutely huge leek – it measures 23½ inches around. It didn’t even get fed – it grew on its own steam.”

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