Earlier this week at the Glendale Agricultural Society’s (GAS) annual AGM, one of the UK’s foremost pedigree sheep breeders Michael Walton, took up the role of President.
Michael who has lived and farmed in Glendale his whole life, already has a long and distinguished history with the Society and takes over the role of President from Duncan Davidson of Lilburn Estates who held the post for twenty years.
Michael of Roseden farm near Wooler has been involved with Glendale Show for over 55 years. He showed his first sheep at the Show aged 9 and aged 16 he became as a livestock steward helping the late Jim Lockie of Grievestead. A proactive member of the Committee for many years, he has also been Chairman of the Society.
Michael’s experience as an auctioneer and internationally recognised judge makes him perfectly placed for continuing to develop what is now seen as one of the country’s most progressive agricultural societies. The underlying ethos of GAS is to make sure that rural traditions are maintained while making sure that it adapts to the changing face of the countryside. In addition to the annual Glendale Show, the Society which this year celebrates its 118th anniversary, holds many events throughout the year to ensure the ongoing continuity of important agricultural skills such as stock judging.
As President, Michael aims to play a key role in ensuring The Society’s future: “I am honoured to take up the post of President of the Glendale Agricultural Society. Over the years there have been many low and high points for the Society and fortunately thanks to the hard work of the Management Team, Committee and Secretaries we are currently on a high, going from strength to strength.
However, we would not be where it is today without the support of Duncan Davidson and Lilburn Estates and I would like to thank them for their support in the past and do hope that we will have their support for many years to come.”
Michael was born and brought up at Roseden farm which has been in his family since 1934. Forty years ago he took over the farm from his father Joe and worked there until he retired to Beadnell with his wife Anne. When he took over the farm, he also inherited its flock of pedigree Suffolk sheep dating back to 1937. Suffolks have always been his passion and he became a noted breeder and judge for this livestock class. A member of the National Sheep Association, his judging has taken him to most of the major shows in the country, including Smithfield twice, all of the Royal Shows and as far afield as Belgium and Holland. Not content with farming, breeding and judging, he also developed a career as a successful auctioneer conducting specialist sheep sales for over 30 years.
It is perhaps not surprising that someone with Michael’s background should be appointed President of a show which is renowned for its livestock sections. However his plans for the show and the Society as a whole illustrate his wider understanding of country life as a whole: “One area that I would like to see highlighted more within the show is the Horticultural and Industrial section. We always have one of the finest displays in the North East and I know that this is one of the areas that the 13,000 visitors to the show enjoy and would like to see more of. Another huge success story is the Children’s Countryside Day, we have already educated over 8,000 children in rural and country matters, and we will certainly be educating many more.”
The Glendale Show held on August Bank Holiday Monday is North Northumberland’s largest rural event, attracting visitors from across the North of England.
For more information about the show, the society and the 2010 Children’s Countryside Day, visit www.glendaleshow.com.
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