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Ann Widdicombe helps Uncle Tom Cobley celebrate iconic Widecombe Fair

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 12, 2012

Ann Widdecombe meets Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all at this year's Widecombe Fair  on Dartmoor   Picture: Richard Austin

Ann Widdecombe meets Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all at this year's Widecombe Fair on Dartmoor Picture: Richard Austin

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Outspoken former MP Ann Widdecombe took part in a landmark historic Westcountry event.

The politician, novelist and erstwhile celebrity judged the pantomime horse derby at Widecombe Fair, near her home on Dartmoor.

She met traditional characters including Uncle Tom Cobley, who features in a well-known song about the fair which dates back to 1850.

The free event prides itself on being a "true country fair", and yesterday's highlights included a display by the South Devon Foxhounds and a "shepherd's challenge" which included sheep shearing and bale handling.

The event was billed as a family day out, with children from Widecombe Primary School getting the day off, and a number of child-friendly entertainments, including children's races.

The fair also featured a beer tent, more than 50 trade stands and live music until midnight.

Gareth Targett, of the Old Inn pub in Widecombe-in-the-Moor, said one highlight was the tug'o'war competition. "People train for months, and take it very seriously indeed," he said.

"The fair is a lovely event and the atmosphere is really high. The weather has stayed pretty dry and there's all sorts going on in the village, and we get loads of people dropping in to the pub throughout the day. It's a real family day out."

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