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Sue Perkinsbiggest liarbig liar

WORLD'S BIGGEST LIAR

TV and radio star Sue Perkins was named World's Biggest Liar in the 2006 annual fibbing championship. Sue won the contest in Wasdale after telling an unlikely tale of sheep in the valley 'breaking wind' and causing a hole in the ozone layer. The judges - who included Copeland mayor Willis Metherell - unusually awarded the title to a woman. And a woman who lives outside the county.

But although there were one or two voices of dissent from the 200-strong crowd at The Bridge Inn, most applauded the choice recognising Sue had done her homework and kept true to the spirit of the competition. The contest is held in memory of 'Auld Will Ritson' who lived in the valley in the 19th century and was famous for his tall tales. For example he once told how Wasdale turnips were so big they could be hollowed out and used as sheds. The annual event, sponsored by Jennings Brewery, attracts outrageous tales from competitiors - such as the claim the Lake District was formed by giant moles and the suggestion that mermaids are farmed in Wasdale. Legend has it that a visiting Bishop stumbling across the contest in progress, puffed himself up and declared "I have never told a lie in my life". He was immediately declared that year's winner. Sue's tale of "muttons of mass destruction" began with the unlikely claim that she had been born in Wasdale but that at an early age her voice box had been adopted by a rich couple from Surrey. After the event, she said "I'm aware it was a controversial decision but I hope to come back next year and defend the title to show that it wasn't a fix."

Sue, who admitted she is likely to get some stick from friends for winning the title, donated her £25 prize money to a local animal sanctuary. Other challengers during the evening had told stories about talking dogs, 120-year-old grandads, and how wind farms were not there to generate electricity but to propel Britain south to warmer climes. Particularly well received was one contestant's quip about the proposed holiday village at Lowca - he dubbed it Lowcatraz! This is not the first time the World's Biggest Liar title has proved controversial. In 2003 judges suffered verbal abuse after announcing the winner was South African Abrie Kruger. And a few miles up the road at Egremont, the annual Gurning competition (pulling funny faces) was controversially won in 2001 by TV presenter Michaela Strachan. Tony Blair was visiting neighbouring Sellafield the same day as the World's Biggest Liar contest and some of the audience thought he might turn up to claim the prize. However under the rules, politicians and members of the legal profession are banned from taking part as "they are too practised in the art".

PREVIOUS WINNERS

1974 Tom Purdham
1975 Victor Longridge
1976 Phil Haslehurst
1977 Bruce Porter
1978 - Bruce Porter
1979 Joss Naylor
1980 Tom Purdham
1981 Gordon Hallet
1982 Joss Naylor
1983 Bill Armstrong
1984 Dr. Peter Nuttall
1985 John Reeves
1986 Roger Wicks
1987 Roger Wicks
1988 John Reeves
1989 John Reeves
1990 Reg White
1991 Reg White
1992 Derek Martin
1993 Derek Martin
1994 John Graham
1995 John Graham
1996 John Graham
1997 Howard Christie
1998 James Mason
1999 John Graham
2000 John Graham
2001 George Kemp
2002 George Kemp
2003 Abrie Kruger
2004 Mike Naylor
2005 Mike Naylor
2006 Sue Perkins
2007 John Graham