A WIDOWER who only took up marmalade making last year has won bronze in an international contest.

Ian Bartholomew, 82, of Ferndown, was entered in the World’s Original Marmalade Awards by his daughters, after he took up the hobby following the death of his wife, Hazel, last May.

The retired mechanic said he had no idea his daughters had entered him into the contest until he received the certificate through the post.

“If I’d known the girls were going to enter me into the competition I would have prepared a special jar,” he added.

“They do silly things like this to me all the time.”

The competition received 1,700 entries from around the globe and Ian’s effort received the bronze award for ‘first timers’.

The unlikely food producer said he was persuaded to start at the suggestion of his daughters Nicola Baker and Justine Williams, who had always loved the marmalade made by their late mother.

Ian said Nicola, who runs St Ives Post Office, and paramedic Justine give jars to friends and when he star-ted making it, they demanded more.

However, Ian has some reservations about how his friends at Ferndown Golf Club will react to the news.

“There’s already been a bit of banter, but after they hear about this I’ll really get ripped,” he added.

Ian said he now regularly receives requests for marmalade, and puts its popularity down to the precise two-day process he follows.

“I’m a bit of a perfectionist. It is not possible to do it all in one day.

“I prepare all the ingredients on the first day and make it on the second,” he added.

Spurred on by his success with marmalade, Ian now wants to take things to the next level with his other passion – jam making – and hopes to enter more competitions in the future.