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    Glendale Agricultural Society's New Secretary
31/10/05

Gill Jones
Nigel Robinson, of Harrogate, winner of the 2004-Professional Chef Category

In recent years, the role of the Glendale Agricultural Society's secretary and treasurer has changed radically. Gone are the days of merely typing letters and counting the money.

The society has clear objectives, and has passed its new secretary and treasurer Gill Jones three areas to concentrate on: - promoting and developing The Glendale Show itself, extending the range and impact of the society's Children's Countryside Days, and increasing membership of the society.

Gill's mantle is inherited from past secretary, Sarah Nelson, who departs for one year's maternity leave. She takes on what has become a key role for both the society, and the region.

Gill, who lives in the Borders, is an enthusiast for the countryside, breeding her own horses and involved with working trials with her border collies.  She is excited by her new and challenging role at the helm of North Northumberland's largest rural event - The Glendale Show, held each bank holiday Monday in August.

Gill is assisted by Sarah Dodds, from Yearle Farm, Wooler, and they are both supported by enthusiastic chairman and Hexham Mart auctioneer Scott Donaldson and his extremely supportive and hands-on team of the directors.

With over 200 members, she confirms the intentions of the society and its determination to ring the changes. “Our aim is to raise our profile and to grow and strengthen our presence both within and outwith the Glendale area. The show has gone from strength to strength and attracted visitors from across the north east of England.”

A large event with many challenges, the show is not just the good day out enjoyed by the visitor. Gill's mission is to make sure it informs the public about the way the countryside is changing and is responding to environmental issues. It is there to encourage greater participation in rural activity, and to provide a platform for new rural business, artisans and crafts.

The society and its show also aim to promote the area it serves. Glendale incorporates an area from Cornhill in the North to Glanton in the South, from Kirknewton in the West to Chatton in the East, with Wooler as its central point.

It has everything from some of the best arable farm land in the Tweed Valley to some of the most remote country in England. The area encompasses top quality beef, sheep and dairy units and major vegetable producers. Glendale also plays host to some stunning scenery and wildlife, with many rare birds and plants, salmon and trout fishing and grouse moors.

As Gill says: “We live in a truly unique area, of stunning beauty and diversity - real 'jewel in the crown' in the North East which we can help others to learn from and enjoy!”

The first ever Children's educational day established by Sarah Nelson, was held in 2004. Over 2000 children attended and so successful was the day that next year it is to run as a two day event on June 7 and 8.

The children's educational days are there to connect the countryside with the curriculum, Schools from across the North East, including Northumberland, North and South Tyneside will be invited to the Glendale Show ground to view and interact. They will learn about Glendale's countryside, agriculture, producers and the environment.

During their day in the countryside the society wants to ensure that the children learn how the countryside works.

Gill is convinced of its value: “This type of event has to be education at its best. We want them to appreciate rural life and be encouraged to return. This is not living history it is living real rural life. Children meet the real shepherds, see the real shearer, and feel the real wool. They find out how a horse is shod, a cow is milked and where their ice cream comes from. The old adage that milk comes from a bottle is still believed by many - after the countryside day ignorance is replaced by knowledge, and a bit of amazement!” 

The society wants to increase its membership - 220 at present - and is keen to demonstrate that there is more to belonging than just responsibility for the best show in town!

The secretary is also there to provide an enjoyable programme of visits and activities, all the year round. Last year they held a hugely successful open evening to see the Chillingham Wild Cattle. This event is expected to be just the beginning, and Gill aims to arrange similar visits next year with open evenings covering a range of rural issues.

Gill said: “We are so lucky to have some of the most fantastic scenery in Great Britain on our doorstep. At the end of the day we have a unanimous aim and that is to educate people of all ages, and backgrounds about the Countryside and to ensure that we think, link, and communicate about a truly wonderful, but sometimes hard, way of life!”

Details about the Glendale Agricultural Society can be found on the website www.glendaleshow.com. Gillian can be contacted on 01668283868.

link Defra Grant Helps Secure Future Of Century-Old Society

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