THE Daily Express relates the tale of distraught vegetable grower Dale Toten who spent nearly a year cultivating a giant cabbage only for a chef to hack it up and serve it to hotel guests just a week before it was due be shown at a competition.

Dale had nurtured the giant cabbage in his vegetable garden at the luxury hotel and restaurant Ston Easton Park in Somerset.

He was horrified to discover a large portion of the cabbage shredded and awaiting to be turned into confit of cabbage after being hacked off by an over-eager member of staff despite the fact that chefs had been briefed that they should steer well clear of Dale's prized giant varieties.

The hotel's operations director, Nick Romano, commented: “Dale nearly throttled the chef. He was very upset that morning. He was close to the point of tears.”

Gardener Joe Atherton, from Mansfield Woodhouse in Nottinghamshire, has been showing off his prize-winning enormous onion.

The Daily Express reports that Joe won first prize at the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show for his onion which weighed 15lbs 10oz and measured over a foot in height.

Joe said: “It's brilliant. This is the first time I've won at Harrogate. I am over the moon with the prize.”

He is a four-time world record holder and grew the world's largest carrot in 2007.

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England has fewer smokers says the Daily Mirror and numbers are now down to their lowest ever level.

Those who have kicked the habit now double the number still hooked on it.

Just 16.9% of the population now smoke, the lowest rate since records began. 7.2 million still light up but 14.6 million have quit.

Professor Kevin Fenton from Public Health England said: “Alongside unhealthy diet, smoking is the biggest cause of preventable early death in England, accounting for more than 78,000 deaths a year.

“Quitters will soon see they have reduced blood pressure, easier breathing and better circulation. Stopping smoking is the best thing a smoker can do to improve their health.”

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The Guardian tells us that a polar bear dubbed the “world’s saddest” because of its cramped living conditions in a Chinese shopping centre may get a new home in Doncaster in South Yorkshire.

The Yorkshire Wildlife Park has made an offer to remove Pizza the polar bear from the Grandview Aquarium, in Guangzhou.

Animals Asia, which seeks to end cruelty to animals in Asia, said the offer has been made on condition of Grandview agreeing not to replace Pizza with another animal and that no payment has been offered for the bear.

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After a period of over 70 years, a Jolly Roger flag hoisted above a D-Day ship during the Normandy landings in 1944, has resurfaced.

The Daily Express says the large black flag with a skull and crossbones emblazoned across it was the unofficial insignia for the crew of a US coastguard vessel that operated off Omaha Beach.

It has now emerged for sale at auction after a UK-based collector of memorabilia who has had it for 10 years decided to sell it and it could fetch as much as £1,500.

Matthew Tredwin, of C&T Auctions of Ashford, Kent, said: “The vendor has had it for the last 10 years and they got it from another collector who had it for about 30 years

"Sadly we don't know exactly who it first belonged to or why it was made. I can only assume it was something of a lucky charm for the coastguard crew.

 

"Skull and crossbones have been used in the navy for a long time as an unofficial insignia and that could be the case here.”

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The popularity of singer Ed Sheeran has been illustrated by a BBC report which says that a pig-shaped statue of him has sold for £6,200 at auction.

Called Ed Sheer-Ham, it was among 39 sculptures which had formed part of an art trail in Ipswich up for sale.

Sheeran, who backed the charity project, said the design was 'awesome' and he hoped the model would be a 'huge hit'.

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Reference list:

The Express (www.express.co.uk)

The Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk)

Daily Mirror (www.mirror.co.uk)

BBC (www.bbc.co.uk)