Have a smashing time at World Conker Championships in Northamptonshire

Action from a previous World Conker Championships.
Action from a previous World Conker Championships.

A Chelsea Pensioner is hoping to conker the world again this weekend.

John Riley emerged victorious at the age of 85 in last year’s World Conker Championships in Southwick in the north of the county.

John Riley won the 2017 World Conker Championships. Credit: The Chelsea Pensioners Facebook page NNL-180810-170832005

John Riley won the 2017 World Conker Championships. Credit: The Chelsea Pensioners Facebook page NNL-180810-170832005

He’s hoping to retain his crown when the event returns to The Shuckburgh Arms on Sunday (October 14).

John was crowned conker king and was joined by conker queen Julie Freeman from nearby Rutland.

Julie is also hoping for another winning streak and is bringing a strong contingent of supporters to cheer her along.

John will have plenty of good advice on tactics as he will be accompanied by 11 other Chelsea Pensioners, including town crier Roy Palmer who will start the event at this year’s championships.

Mike Sewell, from BBC Radio 5 Live, is once again the championship’s master of ceremonies and will be providing live commentary throughout the day.

A championships spokesman said: “A strong line up of hopeful contestants have signed up to play from across the UK and from 17 countries across the globe.

“This year we have a team from Conkers, a visitor centre in the heart of the national forest in Ashby-De-La-Zouch, being cheered on by their squirrel mascot.

“Alongside the adults competition runs a juniors event, starting at 10.30am when King Conker and The Lord Robartes Regiment will start proceedings.

“This year’s event is funded by The Northamptonshire Community Fund via The David Laing Fund.

“Without this support, the organisers would not have been able to host this year’s event.

“All proceeds from the day go to organisations supporting the blind and partially sighted.

“To date, the championships have raised £420,782.99p.”

Battle commences at 11am and the winner is expected to be announced shortly after 3pm.