TV comedian makes unexpected appearance at County High School students’ Great British Bake Off event

PUBLISHED: 09:58 11 April 2013 | UPDATED: 09:58 11 April 2013

Lily, Angelica, Ellie, Hannah, Georgia and Evie at their Great Comic Relief Bake Off event with Ed Byrne.

Lily, Angelica, Ellie, Hannah, Georgia and Evie at their Great Comic Relief Bake Off event with Ed Byrne.


WHEN 13-year-old Evie Townsend asked a star of the Great Comic Relief Bake Off to judge her own version of the hit TV show, she could be forgiven for not expecting a reply to her letter.

But the pessimism was short-lived when just a few days later the phone rang. On the other end was popular comedian Ed Byrne graciously accepting her offer of an afternoon of tea and cake tasting.

Evie and her friends Lily, Angelica, Ellie, Hannah and Georgia, all Year 8 students at Saffron Walden County High, came up with the idea of holding the fundraising event after being inspired by the Comic Relief special – which featured the funnyman as a contestant.

“We were watching it on TV and thought it would be a great way for us to raise money for Comic Relief by doing something similar. I suggested to my friends that we ask Ed Byrne to come and judge the event as I knew he lived in Henham and could drop a letter round his house,” said Evie, of Carters Lane, Henham.

“I didn’t expect to get a response but he called and said he’d be there. It was such a shock when he turned up at the front door – my friends couldn’t believe it.”

Fresh from his appearance on a special Comic Relief edition of the Great British Bake Off show, Byrne spent half an hour judging the girls’ baking abilities before selecting his ‘Star Baker’.

Evie added: “He tasted the biscuits and themed cupcakes we’d made and chose my friend Hannah as the winner.

“He kept going on about how nice the cakes she made were but wasn’t impressed by the ice cream cones I’d done. She does bake a lot though and is very good.”

Byrne told the Reporter he was only too happy to accept the invite, and said he had been taken aback by the quality of the cakes. “I was very happy to be involved and was pleasantly surprised by the high standard of baking on offer,” he said.

“But I found it slightly amusing the girls insisted I pick a last placed person. It seemed a bit brutal to be stepping on a young girl’s baking dreams for charity!”

Evie’s dad, the vicar of Henham, Rev Gary Townsend, thanked Byrne for coming along on the day and praised him for his friendliness.

He said: “It was funny because he said the power had been invested in him by host Mary Berry and added that he was pleased to see there were no soggy bottoms on the cakes!”

The girls’ fundraising efforts, which saw them secure sponsorship from people in Henham and fellow students at the County High, have helped raise £250 and counting for Comic Relief.

Their charitable exploits also earned recognition from the school. Evie and her friends have been awarded £200 to spend on an activity for their classmates to enjoy.

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