Londoner triumphs in nettle eating world championships

Nettle eating champion Tom Wheeler (Dorset Nectar Cider/Facebook)
Nettle eating champion Tom Wheeler (Dorset Nectar Cider/Facebook)

A record-breaking Londoner has triumphed at the 2024 World Nettle Eating Championships.

Tom Wheeler saw off challengers from as far away as the United States and Europe in the contest which was held at the Dorset Nectar Cider Farm, near Bridport, on Saturday.

He ate the leaves off 116ft (35.4m) of nettle stalks to claim the men's trophy, beating last year's win of 64ft (19.5m).

The defending women's champion Beth Hodges kept her title and broke her own record she set last year when she ate leaves from 64ft (19.5m) of stalks - up from 60ft (18.3m) in 2023.

She told the BBC her hands were still sore two days after the final and her voice was “an octave or two deeper”.

She said: ”I did really sting the inside of my mouth and your tongue goes a really funny colour but I was concentrating more on the pain in my hands, so I probably forgot about my mouth.

"The dryness is the tricky thing, and chewing them. I think it depends what the weather has been doing - this year they have been a bit hard to chew."

Contestants are given the stalks cut into 2ft (61cm) lengths and then given cider which they can drink or dunk the nettles into.

The competition, which dates back to the 1980s, was previously held at a pub in Bridport but when that closed it was taken over by Ryan Strong at the Dorset Nectar Cider Farm in nearby Waytown.