Great grandparents take part in Spain’s great tomato fight

June, Julie, Chris and Wayne McCabe at La Tomatina
June, Julie, Chris and Wayne McCabe at La Tomatina
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Two great grandparents have fulfilled a lifelong dream by taking part in Spain’s great tomato throwing festival - La Tomatina.

Chris, 71, and June, 69, McCabe, from Hanover Court, Ingol, travelled to the Valencian village of Buñol to hurl tomatoes at complete strangers.

The trip was organised by son Wayne, 47, and his wife Julie, 46, who live at Skeffington Road, Ribbleton and joined them on the trip, and Julie says “it was a once in a lifetime experience”.

“I’m so proud of them for doing it,” said Julie. “They’d talked about it in January and so Wayne booked it straight away and we went at the end of August. They’re still out there now but I wanted to tell their story as it was an incredible thing for great grandparents to do.”

The annual festival sees 22,000 people descend into the village to throw tomatoes at each other all in the aim of fun and raising money for the village.

“Trucks turn up with thousands of tomatoes for you to throw and everyone gets absolutely covered,” Julie said. “All the shops and houses on the main street are covered over and everyone literally paints the town red. We all had to throw our clothes away afterwards because they were completely ruined. Luckily all the local people bring out hose pipes and hose everyone down in the street, which is brilliant because it’s boiling hot as well as being messy.”

I think we’re all really glad we did it and would recommend it to anyone, but we wouldn’t do it again,

Since its origination in 1945, La Tomatina has been held on the last Wednesday in August and lasts a couple of hours.

“I think we’re all really glad we did it and would recommend it to anyone, but we wouldn’t do it again,” Julie said.

“I haven’t eaten a tomato since but it’s something we’ve ticked off our lists of things to do in our lifetimes and it’s fantastic Chris and June have done it so late on in life. I think next year we’ll go on a relaxing holiday although someone did mention the Pamplona bull run but I don’t know if we’ll do that yet!”