A trombone, maracas, wooden spoons, a rainstick and several garden forks were just some of the implements used to encourage worms to break the surface at Maughold Church’s annual Worm Charming Championships.
Competitors - many working together as families - were each allotted a two-metre-square plot and given just 30 minutes to collect as many worms as they could.
Reverend Christopher Lowdon said: ’The idea came to us three years ago from our insurance company who was suggesting ways churches can find interesting ways to make money.
’One of the ideas came from a church in Scarborough and we thought: "What a great idea". This is now turning into an annual event. This is our third competition and we look forward to doing the same next year.’
He added: ’The world record is 535 worms in half an hour. We haven’t quite got that in Maughold today.’
As novice worm charmers, we were given a list of 20 rules to be obeyed: worms cannot be dug out from the ground, they have to be handled carefully and competitors must not ’impede or interfere with other competitors’.
The rules also state that all worms that have been charmed will be released in the evening, once the birds have gone to roost.
We were encouraged to use the tried and tested method of wiggling a garden fork in the ground while simultaneously hitting it with a stick to create vibrations.
We also kept the ground well watered using our bucket.
The idea is that the worms are fooled into thinking that it’s raining so head for the surface.
The 10 teams used a range of worm charming methods and techniques.
We knew that worms don’t have ears but that didn’t stop us from enjoying our specially-created playlist with should-be classic songs such as Wiggle It, Funky Worm and No Diggity.
We got off to a flying start, literally, with some worms leaping out of the earth.
But we soon discovered many others to be very cautious and were surprisingly speedy to vanish back down their hole if they thought they had been spotted. All too soon the 30 minutes were over and it was time to head back to the church hall for the official count.
Prizes were awarded for the fattest worm, most ingenious worm charming technique and a booby prize for the fewest.
With 22 worms, the team from Isle of Man Newspapers were declared champions at their first attempt, well ahead of our nearest rivals on 14.
But we were some way short of the Maughold record holders who charmed 35 worms last year. We’ll be back to defend our title next year.