Sunday saw what is fast becoming a much-anticipated annual event take place in Ellesmere.

Visitors to the recreation field on Birch Road enjoyed the fifth outing of an unusual object – a trebuchet, or siege engine. In the Middle Ages such items of war were used to catapult boulders and burning pitch over high castle battlement. This reconstruction was used to fling cast-off pumpkins at a variety of targets.

Over 150 visitors joined Ellesmere’s community arts group Fizzgigs in what visitor Nicky Stinton from Petton called ‘a lovely thing to do, with a real community spirit’. Peter Cartlidge, Fizzgigs member, designed and made this trebuchet, dubbed The Death Dealer by MC Mike Ford.

Visitors named their Halloween lanterns and then saw them flung into the skies in a competition to see whose pumpkin could travel the furthest.  There were families from as far as Northwich and Chester as well as from Ellesmere and surrounding villages.

Some pumpkins broke into pieces in the air, some achieved great heights before thudding to the ground.  ‘Jack’s Skeleton rattled through the air!’ exclaimed MC Mike.

Over forty pumpkins of a range of weights and sizes were flung through the afternoon.

As ever, names were inventive, with the likes of Harry Potter, Green Goddess, Bumpkin and Bingo.  Lucy (10) from Ellesmere named hers ‘Gavin – after my dad because he’s been so annoying today.’ Ewan (10 also from Ellesmere was delighted that his Many-Eyed Monster – ‘because it had so many holes drilled in it’ – at over 59 metres beat his friend’s.

The record for this year was reached by ‘Steve’, weighing in at only 1 kilo. Isaac (10) who had brought it said, ‘It went like a bullet.’ It reached 79metres but the record across all years still stands at 100 metres.

There were some moments of indecision, like Sophia (7) from Petton who very nearly didn’t let her pumpkin be thrown. ‘I painted it at my friend’s house. We put on gems. I made love-heart eyes. I wanted it to stay like that forever.’

Kate Westgate of Fizzgigs said, ‘It was lovely to see so many children enjoying a fun and free afternoon, joining in with the oohs and aahs as the pumpkins took to the skies.’

All pumpkin flesh and unflung Halloween lanterns were collected from the field and taken for composting.

Details of all Fizzgigs activities can be found at

Preparing the trebuchet for firing

Family left to right: Elsie Price, Becky Davies, Freddy Price.