What a whopper! - Seaham dad grows world-record leek

WINNING ROOTS: Paul Rochester with his winning leek.
WINNING ROOTS: Paul Rochester with his winning leek.
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A VICTORIOUS veg grower is celebrating success with this world record-breaking whopper.

Paul Rochester has smashed the world record with his leek which weighed in at 21lb 8oz.

The 56-year-old dad-of-two from Seaham entered his lofty leek, giving him a second taste of success after he won a heaviest onion title in 2007 with a 15lb-plus vegetable.

He has said that initial prize left him eager for more, with his latest accolade awarded at South Causey Arch Horticultural Show in County Durham.

Paul, who works as a machine operator for G 0’Brien and Sons in Boldon, shared his allotment in Northlea with is father Wilfred, who taught him gardening skills.

Among the tips his father passed on was to play Glenn Miller tunes to his crops

He then took on the whole plot when his father died in 1997 at the age of 69, concentrating on growing onions and leeks.

Paul said his tips for top results are plenty of water, good fertiliser and “lots of TLC”.

He added: “I was over the moon to win the heaviest leek in the show, even more so when I found out I’d set a new world record. I wish that my late father could have been here to see it, I know he would have been proud.”

His leek topped the weight for the title last won by South Hetton grower John Pearson, whose effort scooped the world record honour back in 2011 when his leek tipped the scales at 20lb 5oz.

Paul also produces carrots, parsnips, potatoes, cauliflower, cabbage and tomatoes among other vegetables on his allotment.

He is married to Joy, 54, and his dad to Faye, 27, and Kate, 21, and is grandad to Ellie, aged 14 months.

The three-day horticultural show in Stanley attracted around 200 exhibits and 4,000 visitors.