Piegate row hits pub’s charity bid

MBTC Richard Hammond Piegate
MBTC Richard Hammond Piegate

Plans by an Ampthill pub landlord to hold a pie festival on Saturday in aid of charity have caused a rumpus on the town’s internet forum.

Residents accused Richard Hammond, who runs the Queen’s Head, of stoking Britain’s obesity crisis by dishing up “unhealthy food”.

They also demanded to know whether the pies would be gluten free and “safe for people with nut allergies”.

And one poster on the Ampthill TV Forum even claimed it was discriminating against Muslims unless “halal” pies were also served.

Stunned Richard, 55, said: “I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. I just wanted to organise a pie festival to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Supprt.

“But it has been turned into a politically correct nightmare with everybody sticking their noses in.

“Of course I sympathise with people who have gluten or nut intolerances and I will do my best to help them with all the pie ingredients listed. And we will have vegetarian pies. But nobody has to eat the pies. I’m running a pub not a gourmet restaurant.”

This is not the first time the Queen’s Head Pie Festival has been hit by controversy.

Two years ago there was a row dubbed “Piegate” after one furious entrant accused judges of cheating her husband out of the first prize.

The angry housewife claimed he had baked the winning pork, apple and cheese pie not a woman called Sheryl who was given the trophy.

But landlord Richard said: “I couldn’t find a crumb of evidence of any skullduggery. It had all been eaten.”