EXCLUSIVE: Whopping 189st pumpkin with eyes on world record is saved after toppling off lorry

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It could have been the worst disaster to hit the fairytale world since the ­Gingerbread Man gave a live running commentary of his own death, or the time Rapunzel’s prince got the girl, only to have his eyes gouged out by thorns.

A huge pumpkin that had been in the running to set a world weight record toppled off the back of a lorry.

But luckily Prince Charming – also known as farmer Tom Nelson of ­Sunnyfields Farm in Southampton – was able to save the 189stone (2,656lb) ­super-sized squash from disaster.

The pumpkin-as-big-as-a-carriage weighs the same as a Fiat 500, which when you think about it, would probably be a modern Cinderella’s chosen mode of transport.

Grown by twin farmers, Ian and Stuart Paton, 61, in Lymington, Hants, the fruit had just narrowly missed out on claiming a new world record by 46lb at the weigh-in in Berkshire.

The heaviest pumpkin on record was an Italian beast last year which weighed in at 193st (2,702lb).

After the Hampshire giant was confirmed as the UK’s heaviest and also the biggest so far in the world this year, it was on the perilous journey to its new home at the Sunnyfields pumpkin festival when disaster struck.

It was almost at the farm when it tipped off the trailer as it turned a corner and into the hedgerow.

It took two JCB cranes and Tom’s team of helpers to recover it .

He explains: “This is never a good time of year for pumpkins, which get carved and sliced up, and clearly this one had a last-ditch attempt to escape.”

In fact early reports of the giant pumpkin being smashed were greatly exaggerated, and Tom reports that it escaped with only “minor bruising”.

It has now been patched up in time for all the visitors who are flocking to see the second biggest fruit on the planet, as well as all the other Halloween fun at the farm.

Tom, 32, says: “We put a couple of fans on the cut in the pumpkin, which was oozing innards.

“It dried it up in time to go on display for our pumpkin festival for the rest of October.”

The twin growers have been attempting to break the world record in pumpkins for an incredible 47 years. “They get closer and closer each time,” explains Tom. “They grew one this year that was 200kg heavier than the world record, but it had a small hole in it so it was discounted by Guinness.

“They have cloned it as they’re getting really serious about breaking the record – and are going to try and grow from that plant next year.”

The farmer twins grow six pumpkins each year, and when they get closer to the time, are spending up to six hours a day tending to them. Tom explains: “This year four of the six grew really big – the one which got the hole, one which won a Spanish competition, and this one that won the Berkshire competition and is so far the biggest this year in
the world.”

His farm is turned into a pumpkin fairytale theme park for October.

As well as getting photos with the giant pumpkin for their family album or perhaps even dating profile, visitors to the farm’s annual festival come to find the perfect pumpkin among the hay bales and sunflower-edged walkways for the carving season.

“We start off the year with 200,000 pumpkins and squash – mostly grown here,” explains Tom.

“And families come and get a wheelbarrow and choose their pumpkin.” Among many Halloween displays are a skeletal Elsa from Frozen and a Harry Potter.

There are also jet-skiing and tractor-driving skeletons and a gingerbread house made from pumpkins.

But the best in show display goes to the giant mural of Paddington Bear created by Tom and his team as a tribute to the late Queen.

Tom says: “He symbolises our thanks to Her Majesty.”

The festival is expected to be busy this year, with up to 100,000 visitors.

Then when the clock strikes midnight on October 31, the season is over and the giant pumpkin will turn back into… a pile of pumpkin seeds.