With Spring almost upon us, the annual World Bonnag Championships took place at St James’ Church in Dalby, where a capacity audience gathered to see who would be crowned overall champion.
It was another sell-out event for the busy organisers of this small, but very active church, who provided a warm welcome to everyone as bonnags of all sizes were lined up ready for judging later in the evening.
But first The Wandering Players (Yn Cloiederyn Wandereilys) took centre stage as they presented a rolling programme of poetry, prose, song and readings highlighting periods of Manx history. Using both popular and lesser known stories from the Island’s chronicles, they provided a whistle stop journey which gave a definite local flavour to the occasion.
Closing with the much-loved song Ellan Vannin, members of the audience were then treated to an extensive home-made supper whilst Paul Kelly (a baker from Peel) set to his task of judging a large number of bonnags.
His judging was both astute and confident as he cut into each un-yeasted bread, smelling them for that unmistakable aroma of soda and weeding out those that didn’t quite make the grade.
This was followed by local farmer, preacher and Island personality John Kennaugh, who spoke briefly about how money raised at events in Dalby is distributed to worthy causes both on and off the Island.
During 2015 funds will be divided between Dalby Church Restoration Fund, Women’s Aid IoM and the Manx overseas charity Mannin Sponsors Africa, who are working to provide wells for villages in Gambia.
A representative of Mannin Sponsors Africa spoke movingly about how our monetary contributions would assist in the provision of clean drinking water in Gambia, which then prompted John Kennaugh to recite The Pitcher, one of the many poems by Manx poet T. E. Brown.
The evening closed with the presentation of trophies and certificates to the winning bakers by Shoprite representative Rodger Gimbert, and the anticipated auction of all bonnags entered for the competitions; which included a cross-section of currant, plain and gluten-free bread.
Children: Bryce Clague
Gents: Gordon Clague
Women: Colleen Cowin (who also won the Isle of Man Creamery’s Buttermilk Trophy as overall champion)
Commercial: Green’s Tearoom of St John’s
© March 2015