They came, they ate but only one person conquered a charity giant burger challenge on Saturday night.

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A total of 108 burgers were served up for the Hilgay Burgermeister Challenge, which raised more than £500 for the Norfolk Hospice, Tapping House.

Made with a 4lb steak mince patty, lettuce, a pinch of seasoning and a mammoth bread bap, the meaty marvel attracted teams from far and wide.

As the klaxon sounded at 7.35pm to start the challenge, the male and female participants quickly made in-roads into the mammoth burger using various tactics.

But within 30 minutes, the number of people still eating dwindled dramatically and as the hour approached, there were only a handful of contestants left.

The first person to finish was West Norfolk Rugby Club player Paul Bridges who ate the 4lb burger in an impressive 57 minutes and 31 seconds. The 22-year-old’s nickname at the rugby club is “Big’Un” and he is currently studying to be a Operating Department Practitioner at the UEA.

After swallowing his final mouthful, the Wiggenhall St German’s resident said: “I hit a wall with three bites left. It was really tough but the encouragement from everyone really helped me to finish. I’ve never done anything like this before. I’ve eaten big meals but nothing like that.”

Mr Bridges continued: “When it first came out, it wasn’t as big as what I thought it would be but when I started eating, it was really tough.

“But it was a lovely burger and a great night for a good cause.”

He added: “I’m not sure if I will be back next year to defend my trophy or not. I will have to wait and see.”

Mr Bridges’ prize for finishing first was tickets for four people to spend the day at Centre Parcs.

Second place went to Billy Chilbers, 22, from Wiggenhall St Germans, and third place went to Craig Law, 30, from Downham Market.

After being crowned third, Mr Law said: “I am really full. That was a tough challenge.

“I thought it was going to be a lot easier than that to be honest but when the burger came out it was quite daunting.”

Asked how he prepared for the challenge, he continued: “I drank a lot of water this morning. I read on a website to drink a lot of water the morning before and I think it helped a little.”

The event was dreamed up by village butcher and veteran fundraiser Ali Dent after watching the Man V Food television show, which attracts millions of viewers worldwide.

It follows food fanatic Adam Richman as he tours America’s pig-out spots and attempts outlandish eating challenges, from a 72oz steak to a two-gallon ice cream sundae.

Mr Dent said: “It’s been a really good night and we’ve raised well over £500 for charity. We will do this again next year for sure.”

EDP photographer Matthew Usher and reporter David Blackmore also took part in the challenge with both eating their way through half of the 4lb burger before giving up.

Mr Blackmore said: “There was a cracking atmosphere from the moment I arrived at the pub but you could sense a few of the participants were nervous of the challenge.

“I think a lot of people gave up mentally when they saw the size of the burger as it was placed in front of them.

“It was pretty daunting for me and it was interesting to hear the different tactics people were going to implement, only for them to give up after 10 minutes.

“I was sat pretty close to the eventual winner and he just seemed to systematically work through the burger but you could see he hit the wall as he got down to the last few mouthfuls. But to have finished it in under an hour was pretty impressive.

“Overall, it was a brilliant night and I’m sure this event will become a popular annual fundraising night.”

Mr Usher added: “The burger was a lot bigger than I thought and to see the winner polish it off in under an hour was amazing.”

The money raised at Saturday night’s event will boost the Norfolk Hospice, Tapping House’s Seahorse Appeal, which is being backed by the EDP.

The Snettisham-based charity is gearing up to move operations to a full-service hospice in Hillington later this year.

The new hospice, along with the charity’s Hospice at Home team, will help the charity give a more complete service to more people in West Norfolk, North Norfolk and parts of Cambridgeshire.

But the charity, which currently supports more than 280 people every month, needs to raise £750,000 before December to ensure patients can take advantage of the new hospice and other services straight away and launched the Seahorse Appeal in September.

Visit www.edp24.co.uk/news/tapping-house to find out more about the Seahorse Appeal.

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