‘End of an era’ as pie society hosts last bash

Last Pork Pie Appreciation Society Competition at The Old Bridge Inn, Ripponden. Pie Man Oliver Evan.
Last Pork Pie Appreciation Society Competition at The Old Bridge Inn, Ripponden. Pie Man Oliver Evan.

An organiser behind Calderdale’s premier celebration of pork pies said ‘never say never’ about the competition’s future after the final event was held.

In its 25th year the Pork Pie Appreciation Society decided to call time on its charity pie competition, which attracts hundreds of visitors each year to Ripponden’s Old Bridge Inn.

B and M Collins & Sons, Cleckheaton.Winners at the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie competition.Pictured: Marjorie Collins and Mary Johnson.Photo date: 21/03/17Ref: AB_BandM_Collins_2

B and M Collins & Sons, Cleckheaton.Winners at the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie competition.Pictured: Marjorie Collins and Mary Johnson.Photo date: 21/03/17Ref: AB_BandM_Collins_2

Peter Charnley, from the society, said: “The pies were a fantastic, everyone tried so hard for the competition and it was a fitting end to an era.

“People seemed to really enjoy themselves and the chance to eat pie and peas, the freshest they will ever eat, in their hundreds.

“The pub almost sells of out beer every time the competition is on.”

Mr Charnley said a lack of members had put the competition at risk and the society had decided its a quarter-century anniversary would be an appropriate time to draw the tradition to a close.

Asked if the society could be tempted to revive the festival in the future, he said: “We thought at 25 years it might be the right to stop but never say never. If we did bring it back it wouldn’t be next year.

“There is a certain sadness. I wouldn’t categorically rule it out.”

While many Calderdale locals were hoping for a homegrown triumph the top pie prize was taken by Hoffman’s, of Wakefield, in the traditional class.

Organisers who hoped to receive more entries in the “artisan” category, which covers pork pies mixed with an unusual ingredient, were not disappointed by the full English breakfast pie, which Mr Charnley, who considers himself a pork pie traditionalist, said was very much as its name suggested.

“Doesn’t sound to good to me but it did become one of the finalists,” he added. Honley Village Butchers took home top slot in the artisan category with its pork, chorizo, goats’ cheese and sweet chilli sauce entry.