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Bean there, done that, and broken the record

NURSERY teacher Sarah Page has always been a fan of cold baked beans.

And now she holds the world record for eating more of them with a cocktail stick in one minute than anyone else.

"I only volunteered because I thought they were going to use Smarties," said the 25-year-old, whose 32 beans will make it into the Guinness Book of Records. "I'm an even greater fan of chocolate."

Miss Page pipped 10-year-old Charmaine Davies to the title in the record-breaking attempt at Holystone primary on North Tyneside.

"I like baked beans on toast but I don't like them on their own," said Charmaine, who managed to eat only 23 beans because they broke in two when she speared them.

The contest was proposed and witnessed by the Guinness Book of Records, as part of a tour of eight schools in England and Scotland.

Records were attempted at all eight, but All Saints primary in Halifax was the only other successful record-breaker.

Richard Speak, an information and communications technology teaching assistant, beat Year 6 teacher Kevin Squires and downed three mince pies in one minute 27 seconds - smashing the existing record by 25 seconds.

"It could get to the point where I never want to see another mince pie again," said Mr Speak.

Mr Squires, who ate only one pie, admitted technique let him down. "I tried to put it whole in my mouth and nearly choked," he said.

Holystone headteacher Brian Goodall said the assembly dedicated to cold baked-bean eating illustrated the school's joie de vivre.

"Children have to leave us excited and motivated about learning - so having a bit of fun is part of that process," he said. "I suspect when children look back on their time here they are more likely to remember Miss Page eating baked beans than innumerable literacy hours."

Unnamed staff at the school say Miss Page's classroom has been strangely empty since her bean consumption rose...

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