The sun was shining on Northumberland County Show on Bank Holiday Friday as 25,000 people descended on Bywell to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and enjoy a glorious day in the countryside.
The Show’s Chairman, Mark Scandle announced, “After a two year absence, we are delighted with the attendance figures and brilliant feedback from our visitors. We are very proud of our show and this year’s success is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the organising team, and the hundreds of volunteers who make this amazing event happen. It is wonderful to be back!”
Equally happy were Steven O’Kane and his fiancée Helen who picked up the top prize of the day. Steven is farm manager for Thor Atkinson of Plumpton, in South Cumbria whose magnificent Limousin Bull ‘Upperffrydd Power’ scooped the crown of JS Hubbucks Champion of Champions.
The judge, Scott Donaldson, auctioneer at Harrison and Hetherington, Carlisle, explained his choice, “He stood out with his presence and quality. He has everything: conformation, width, temperament and of course, power. He was the clear leader on the day.”
There were more smiles in the youngsRPS Sheep Section; Jeff Aiken from Proctor’s Farm in Lancashire was keen to return to the show as a competitor after enjoying his experience as a judge three years ago. He was thrilled to win the Overall Champion Sheep and reserve JS Hubbucks Champion of Champions, with his fantastic Texel gimmer.
The line up also included champions from other livestock sections, including Dairy cattle, Heavy Horses, Alpacas and for the first time, Rabbits. Glenna Ford, and her champion Rex rabbit were thrilled to be invited to join the Grand Parade, “I wasn’t expecting to be in the ring for the Champion of Champions. But he got best in show and now I’m here – it’s amazing!”
Sharp eyed spectators may have spotted TV celebrity, Robson Green taking part in the Grand Parade of Champions. He was shooting a series on rural life for BBC 2, called Robson Green’s Dirty Weekends, that showcases ordinary people doing extraordinary things. He probably did not expect to be leading a Hereford Bull weighing over one ton around the main arena.
In the Sage Wealth Management Light Horse section, twelve year old Milly Smith-Philipson, riding Lindeth Talisman, having won the BSPS 143cm Open Section Championship earlier, swept to victory in the Sage Wealth Management Supreme Light Horse Championship.
Judge, Pippa Kirby, told us, “The winner had star quality, and was a perfect example of its type. It was the pony I would like to take home with me!”
The Northumberland County Show is not just about the livestock competitions. There were lots of things for visitors to see and do. One of the most popular displays were the Giant Tortoises, that visitors could feed and pet. Live music was provided by brass bands, Piping Vikings and an Open Mic area which hosted a variety of musicians. Entertainment continued in the main arena with the Newcastle Diamonds Speedway team showing off high speed motorcycle skills, the children came into the ring to meet Morpeth Hunt’s beagles and the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers Highland Pipers provided rousing tunes at the Show’s Official Opening ceremony. Presented by the President of Tynedale Agricultural Society, David Carr, the High Sheriff of Northumberland Col James Royds spoke of the achievements of Her Majesty the Queen in the seventieth year of her reign in his address. The Bishop of Berwick Mark Wroe, blessed the show and the farmers, and there was a poignant minute’s silence of remembrance for all those people lost in the last two years.
Visitors lingered in the evening sunshine on the showfield. Asked about their day, one family said “This has been the most amazing day out. We have missed the show over the last two years, but it’s been the best one we’ve ever been to.” Smiles all round!