ASPIRING bakers are being encouraged to pull on their aprons and get practising for this year’s Great Christchurch Bake Weekend and Fete.

The event, part of this year’s Christchurch Food and Wine Festival, will take place on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 May, when the Quomps will be transformed into a typical English fete, with white marquees and a giant helter-skelter as well as other attractions.

And special guest, Jo Wheatley, winner of the 2011 BBC Great British Bake Off, will be helping to judge the adults’ baking competition and demonstrating her skills.

There will be demonstrations taking place in the cookery theatre throughout the weekend, sponsored by The Captain’s Club Hotel & Spa and supported by Waitrose, and hands-on cookery sessions for children and adults presented by the Christchurch Food Festival Education Trust.

On the Sunday the Food Festival’s patron Lesley Waters will assist in judging the children’s baking competition and the showstopper category with the cookery theatre and hands-on cookery sessions also in full flow.

Over both days there will be individual trade stalls, a children’s fete and vintage cars as well as food and drink stalls to make a day of it.

And as well as Jo Wheatley, experts on Saturday include Sarah Howard from the Academy of Culinary Arts, Tim Gower from The Captains Club Hotel, the Crooked Beam’s Simon Hallam, Kirsti Maybank, chef at Claridges Hotel and Helen Shaw of Vanilla Pink Cakes.

Des Burke from Flavours Cookery School will be joining the Sunday team along with Luke Stuart from White Pepper Cookery School and Jenny Budzynski of Miss Ingredient. Details of the classes and expert tutors can be found at and tickets for sessions can be bought from the Regent Centre on 01202 411299.

For more information on the Bake Weekend contact Cheryl Davies at the Captain’s Club Hotel on 01202 475111.

Still chance to join the dance

THERE is still time to enter the dance section of the 85th season of the Bournemouth Music Competitions Festival.

The closing date for entries is Thursday March 28.

Many of those who take part in the festival go on to become professional performers. Rebecca Herszenhorn, who a few years ago was the winner of the prestigious Bridget Espinosa Award, has just been selected from more than 3,000 auditionees for a role in the current production of A Chorus Line at the London Palladium.

For the Bridget Espinosa award, the adjudicator will recommend one dancer aged between 16 and 18 to be offered a scholarship to attend the Summer School at the prestigious London Studio Centre.

To find out more about the festival call 01202 556023 or email

Some words of advice

THE second annual Bournemouth Festival of Words is to be “bigger and better”.

The festival will be officially launched by the Mayor of Bournemouth, Councillor Phil Stanley-Watts, at a Writers’ Networking Event on Friday May 24.

A week of events including writers’ workshops, a Poetry Slam, Heritage Walk and a Flash Fiction Slam, will follow, as well as interactive storytelling sessions by children’s authors Carol Hunt and Sarah Lean.

Festival spokeswoman Liz Gordon said: “We also have pre-festival events such as a Literary Quiz on May 8 to get people warmed up.” Visit