The much loved Northumberland County Show has seen a lot of changes this month, setting the scene for a new era and change of leadership.
Kerry Robson, the Show’s Secretary, has embraced a bigger role and masterminded significant changes within the first month of her appointment.
Kerry told us, “This is a fantastic opportunity, and I can’t wait to get stuck into the challenge! I love the show and have big ideas involving education for both children and adult visitors; I want to strengthen our commercial relationships and build on our infrastructure, while celebrating what is great about our region’s rural culture and heritage. It is time to look to the future and recognise the importance of our food and farming industries, and those who work in them!”
Kerry joined the show in 2016 in a part time role spanning finance, administration, membership retention and customer service. She has been the driving force behind the successful Children’s Art Competition, the Creative North Marquee, which celebrates traditional countryside crafts; the Open Mic County Fest music arena; and this year, organised the Shopping Marquee too.
Educated at QEHS Hexham and Kirkley Hall, Kerry is a qualified Farm Secretary, starting her career at DEFRA as a Rural Development Scheme Officer. She has since eld roles in wildlife and rural charities and industry training. Kerry said, “My most rewarding and hardest job was managing and running a livestock farm, to support my beloved brother Adam Forster, who sadly passed away in 2014 following a ten month battle with a brain tumour.” Kerry and her family are passionate fundraisers for Brain Tumour Research, hosting a variety of annual events in Adam’s memory, including the upcoming Hallowe’en Ball. Since his death, they have generated over £20,000 in donations.
Kerry added, “Adam would be so proud of what I am doing at the show as he loved to socialise with the farming community and educate young people about country life. He loved to take my girls to the Show at Corbridge when they were little and spoil them. I think that is what is most important… making memories!”
And there is no doubt the next Northumberland County Show will be memorable. Kerry has already overseen the first big change: the date of the event. For decades the Show has been held on the last Bank Holiday Monday in May, but last week, the Committee of Tynedale Agricultural Society voted to make Saturday of that weekend the future show day. Next year’s will take place on Saturday 27th May.
Chairman, Mark Scandle explains the rationale, “This summer the Jubilee Bank Holidays forced us to change our Show day to Friday, which felt very odd at first, but we were delighted with the outcome.
“We realised how easy it was for our traders and partners to set up during normal working days causing less disruption to their businesses. Our competitors found it convenient for travelling, and our visitor attendance remained excellent.”
Mark also is mindful of the impact on the Show’s volunteers, “We rely on a huge team of hard working volunteers. One of the biggest benefits we found this year was the clear up operation was so much quicker and easier as we had more people available to help. A Saturday show allows us to litter pick on Sunday, and still gives the team a Bank Holiday Monday to recover!”
The next change is the Show’s branding and logo, which has been revamped by Hexham designer, Terry Walsh. The new logo features a circular shield adorned by ears of wheat and natural imagery, featuring silhouettes of cattle, sheep and horses on a background of the Northumbrian flag. Kerry describes how it aligns to the Show’s values, “It is a combination of heritage and modernity; with farming at its heart and embedded in the local rural community. It is a fresh look for the future, with a bright distinctive colour palette that is instantly recognisable.”
Kerry concluded, “We have an amazing number of dedicated volunteers who help us to put the show together. I am so grateful for what they do and with their help, and the endless support of my family and friends, I am committed to making 2023 a fantastic day out for all the family, young and old!” We wish her the very best of luck.