Michael Walton, who has lived and farmed in Glendale his whole life, and has a long and distinguished history with the Glendale Agricultural Society, is looking forward to his first Glendale Show as President.
Michael Walton, President Glendale Agricultural Society and
Eric Moffatt, Horticultural Secretary
Michael, of Roseden farm near Wooler, has been involved with Glendale Show for over 55 years. As the livestock and equestrian classes at the show have continued to grow year on year, the society could not wish for a better qualified President, he showed his first sheep aged 9, and at 16, he became a livestock steward.
The Glendale Show is now preparing for its 118th year and although the show has grown in size and scope since its beginnings, the equestrian and livestock classes are still at its heart. A livestock farmer all his life, Michael is keen to champion the sheep and cattle sections. “We have the best Livestock Show in the North. Glendale itself is a fantastic livestock producer, and we naturally reflect this. The livestock pens fetch big crowds – people who show their best animals, and the rest of us, who just come along to admire!”
This year the traditional classes in sheep, cattle, as well as goats have seen an xx% increase in entries. New classes are continually introduced, this year it is the turn of the speciality Zwartble Sheep. Originally from Holland, these handsome black sheep with their distinctive white blaze are bred for both their meat and their milk. The warm thick fleeces which make them able to withstand the cold and wet weather of Friesland make them equally at home in the Cheviots joining our more common native breeds.
In a further acknowledgment of the Show’s community role Michael points to the awards and competitions they have introduced. New this year, is the Lamb Carcass presentation, which emphasises the extent the Society’s commitment to any industry connected with food and agriculture. Held in conjunction with Woodhead Brothers and Border Livestock Exchange Ltd, this innovative award to present the perfect batch of lamb carcasses underlines the society’s continuing commitment to preserving and promoting rural skills.
Diversification is often seen to be a way to maintain rural businesses. The Glendale Agricultural Society Farm Diversification Award, in Association with George F. White, recognises the way new ideas and business builds for the future. He says: “A new batch of agriculture-based companies has come forward to show that the economy is not all doom and gloom.” He is also naturally proud that the society recognises lifetime service by individuals. “We are continuing to make the long service presentations to those who have served the country community all their lives.”
Michael is keen to underline the importance of these sponsors: “These companies are vital to the survival of a show such as this. They help to provide services we couldn’t afford without making the cost of entry prohibitive.”
In ending his round up of the prospects for his first show, Michael returns to the Horticulture and Industrial Tent which he decribes as a community in itself. “When I became President I wanted people to remember how important to the community this section is. The opening of the Horticultural and Industrial Tent is one of the most eagerly awaited moments of the show day. “
“Entries come from all parts of the community: from primary school children to pensioners, from marvellous gardens to modest greenhouses. We love to see the way gardeners produce, nurture and display their proudest fruits and blooms; and the way the shepherd and the craftsman combines to dress sticks that would deserve respect from artists. It’s incredible to see the delicious cakes and jams that are almost literally too good to eat; and the arrangements of veg, fruits, flowers and photographs that demonstrate the creative eye that so many members of our community possess.”
Michael adds: “The industrial and horticultural section is one the oldest and most traditional parts of the show. It gives the whole event its heart in the community.”
His final thoughts return to the underlying ethos of the GAS - to make sure that rural traditions are maintained while adapting to the changing face of the countryside. The 118th annual show will continue to maintain that role, while seeking to inform and entertain the thousands of visitors to the show [12,000 in 2009], and to the other events the Society runs throughout the year.
The Glendale Show held on August Bank Holiday Monday is North Northumberland’s largest rural event, attracting thousands of visitors from the North of England and the Scottish Borders.. Offering a range of events, both new and traditional, to entertain and inform, it features a brand new Entertainments Marquee, Main ring Attractions like the Red Devils Parachute Display Team, equestrian and livestock classes, rural crafts and over 200 trade stands.
However the spirit of the show remains true to Michael’s early memories when it was held in the mart field at Wooler: “Even then it was the event of the year that everyone looked forward to. I am delighted that people still get very excited on show day. It is a tremendous day out, for not only does the best of the countryside come together to be shown, people come together to meet friends they may not have seen for a long time.”
For more information about the show, the society and the 2010 Children’s Countryside Day, visit www.glendaleshow.com.
Dales Show Season Moves Towards Kilnsey Climax
Action Packed Countryside Live 2010
Dutch Sheep Invited to Glendale Show