Cheers! Jack and Kelly are true Salopians

They have been identified as the epitome of the Shropshire Lad and the Shropshire Lass.

Jack Bywater and Kelly Jones are crowned Shropshire Lad and Shropshire Lass
Jack Bywater and Kelly Jones are crowned Shropshire Lad and Shropshire Lass

Following a county-wide hunt involving a series of challenges, Jack Bywater and Kelly Jones have emerged as victors in the search for the perfect Salopians.

Jack, 21, from Shrewsbury, and Kelly, 33, from Wistanstow, near Church Stretton, were crowned winners of a competition to become the faces of Wood Brewery, which produces the famous Shropshire Lad and Shropshire Lass beers.

Their victory was announced at the Shropshire Okotoberfest at Shrewsbury's Quarry Park.

They beat off competition from about 500 applicants since the competition opened in June.

The applicants were whittled down to 14 finalists, seven lads and seven lasses, who put through their paces with a series of tests during the festival which ran from Friday to Sunday.

Jack and Kelly were announced as the winners on Saturday. They were quizzed on their knowledge of Shropshire's history and geography, asked to identify five of Wood's beers through a blind taste test, and had to demonstrate how to pull the perfect pint.

They also had to identify the ingredients of four sausages barbecued by Chris Burt of the Mytton and Mermaid pub in Shrewsbury, and had to show they could handle their beer by carrying a pint on a tray through a scary maze where they would be distracted by strange goings on.

They also had to revisit some of the challenges they had encountered during the qualifying rounds, including a memory game, as well as being asked to take part in a car-pool karaoke session.

Finally, they had to go onto the main stage and make their case to the audience as to why they should be the Shropshire Lad or Lass, and perform a party trick.

Judges for the last section included BBC Radio Shropshire's Colin Young and Chris Carr from Volvo.

The pair each won a £2,000 cash prize, as well as the use of a car for a month donated by Volvo Shrewsbury. They also received membership of Love Fitness and Shrewsbury Club fitness centres, dinner for two at the Mytton and Mermaid and an annual pass to events organised by Shropshire Festivals.

Mother-of-three Kelly, who works as a health care assistant, said she would be using the money towards the deposit for a house – although she said she would be keeping a bit back for a few pints down her local, The Plough in Wistanstow.

Kelly, who is also a keen netball player, said: "I am the ultimate Shropshire Lass because since the age of four I have lived in Wistanstow, the home of Wood's Brewery as well as going for walks around our beautiful village as well as the rest of Shropshire."

Jack said he would be using his prize money to invest in his business, Darwin Media.

He added: "I’m the Shropshire Lad as I embrace on every opportunity which comes about in the Shropshire area, whether that is cycling over the Stiperstones, going for a walk up the Wrekin or filming the amazing surroundings which Shropshire has to offer and telling a story through the lens. This Shropshire Lad has a lot to offer."

Joint managing director of Wood Brewery, Stephen O'Neill, said: “We all know that Shropshire is a magical place to live and work, with a fantastic history, heritage and community spirit. It has a beautiful landscape, great towns and villages and Salopians are up there with the friendliest of people.

“Our perfect Lad and Lass represent all that and more. They understand the heritage of the region and the industry which is part of the county’s history."

During the festival, the brewery also invited the public to vote on which new beer should be added to its range, being invited to try three beers, scoring them according to their look, smell and taste.

The winning beer will be added to the Wood’s range and will then be sold to pubs across the county.

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