THE hotly-anticipated World Pea Shooting Championships return to Witcham on Saturday, with dozens of eager competitors set to compete.

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The championship, back for it’s 42nd running, has been held in Witcham since 1971 and funds raised have always been used to support the village hall.

Like all good stories, the peashoot has a curious and amusing origin.

The village schoolmaster, Mr Tyson, caught some mischievous pupils amusing themselves by pinging their unfortunate schoolmates with peas and he confiscated the offending weapons.

At the time the village had identified a need for a village hall and they were seeking ways to raise funds, Mr Tyson came up with the idea of a world peashooting championship.

The idea was an instant success and was central to each year’s fund-raising activities.

The popularity of the event has continued to grow over the years, with visitors coming from as far afield as the USA, Scandinavia, France, Spain, New Zealand and Holland to take part.

The current champion is Haddenham resident Ian Ashmeade, who will be aiming to seal a hat-trick of wins in 2012 following victories in 2010 and 2011.

The event kicks off at 12pm on the village green, with the pea-shooting scheduled to begin at 1pm. Peashooters and peas will be on sale and the main competition is open to all comers.

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