IT’S a whopper weighing an incredible eight stone – and it’s going to keep pupils in pumpkin soup for a long time to come.
The colossus was donated to Lyndhurst Juniors in North End for its Harvest Festival after school governor Ralph Swan bid £10 to win it at a church auction.
But the giant pumpkin was far too big to wrap up in parcels and give to people in need. So staff and children have come up with a range of ways to make good use of it for charity.
They are making pumpkin muffins, pumpkin soup and even packaging the seeds to sell in aid of Children in Need.
And there is so much to go round that a lot of the pumpkin is finding its way into school dinners.
Faye Slingsby, 11, a school prefect, said: ‘I couldn’t believe the size of it when it first arrived.
‘I’ve never seen a pumpkin that huge, I think my eyes were widening in amazement.
‘The first thing it reminded me of was James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl which is a book I love.
‘Unfortunately the pumpkin is a bit too heavy to fly off in but we’ve definitely got a story to tell!
‘All the prefects will be packaging the seeds to sell for charity, and I’m definitely going to hold on to one as it would be great to try to grow a pumpkin that size at home.
‘The best thing about this is that all the money we raise from the pumpkin will go to a brilliant charity.
‘It’s all like one happy fairytale.’
The giant pumpkin was grown by Barry and Stella Whittingham from Emsworth who were invited to attend the special assembly when it was presented to the youngsters.
It took three men to carry it into the school.
Headteacher Margaret Beel said: ‘It is marvellous.
‘I can’t get over the fact that this massive beast was grown in somebody’s back garden.
‘Harvest Festivals tend to celebrate foods from all over the world, so it was great to have such a fantastic pumpkin that was grown locally.
‘The food bank couldn’t take the pumpkin so we decided to use it to raise even more money for charity. When we first carved it open it was like opening up a whale.
‘And even after weeks of taking bits out it is still huge.
‘The children are enjoying eating pumpkin in a variety of meals for their school dinners and we’re hoping to get many more in the future from the sale of the seeds.’