Poor harvest hits conkers contest
A conker competition could be called off after a hopeless harvest of tiny horse chestnuts.
Organisers of the Bardon Mill and Roman Empire Conker Championships say this year's crop of conkers are far too small for competitors to play with.
The event, which takes place next weekend on the village green in Bardon Mill, Northumberland, and has attracted conkerers from Canada and New Zealand, will be called off unless bigger horse chestnuts can be found. It would be the first time the contest has been called off.
Championship committee member Geeta Bannister told The Hexham Courant: "The conkers are far too small.
"Hopefully between now and next weekend the rain will make them swell a bit, but right now we're issuing a plea to anyone who spots a decent sized conker to get in touch.
"Last year we had a slight concern before the event but people did rally round and in the end we had more conkers than we actually needed."
She said conker hunters had been dispatched as far as Yorkshire but that they were too small there as well.
It is not the first time the competition has been hit by a shortage of conkers.
In 2008, conkers had to be sent from horse chestnut strongholds across the UK after a 40% decline locally.
If the competition goes ahead, conkers and strings will be provided on the day, and there will be competitions for four different age groups.