2013-06-04 xml

Families Enjoy a Fun Day at New Northumberland Showground

It was all about the children and young people at this year’s Northumberland County Show.

With main sponsors, Northumberland College at Kirkley Hall promoting education in agriculture, Barnard Castle School supporting one of the Main Arena Acts, and new classes for junior handlers in cattle, sheep and home crafts, it was a family atmosphere that pervaded the new showground at Bywell.

Viscount and Viscountess Allendale opening the Show with Chairman Chris Chomse and President John Woodman.

Viscount and Viscountess Allendale opening the Show with Chairman Chris Chomse and President John Woodman.

Five year old Torie Wilson, came all the way from Appleby, Cumbria, for the big day. Preparing their calf for the show ring, she told her mother, Diane Wilson, “I going to do this all by myself, Mummy.” Her dedication and independence was rewarded with a clutch of rosettes; their lovely Jersey calf came first in its class, and then went on to win Champion Calf, earning its place in the Grand Parade. Torie also came second in the Junior Dairy Handling class.

Following the successful introduction of Junior Beef Cattle Handler Classes last year, this year saw 11 year old Josh Bellas proudly taking the 1st prize rosette in the Junior Young Handler Class, and Steph Parkinson sweeping to Victory in the Senior Class, for 15-21 year olds, and went on to be crowned the Champion Young Handler.

The Champion Young Sheep Handler was Joshua Thorburn, aged 11, who had travelled from Holmlea in Annan, Scotland, with his family to be part of the Show. He impressed judges with his composure and maturity in handling his Zwartble sheep. In second place was the adorable little Cameron Cormack, also from Annan, aged only 3 ½, who took control of a fine Blue Texel with great confidence.

Robbie Binks, aged 12, had been eagerly awaiting this opportunity to show off his skills. He attained, 3rd place in the Young Sheep Handler Section. His father Tony Binks, proprietor of the award winning Barrasford Arms Pub in the North Tyne valley, sponsored the Hereford Cattle class this year. He said, “I don’t come from a farming background, but all of our friends and most of our customers are involved in agriculture. I’m proud that my son has such a passion for farming life. He has become a well-known little character in the village.”

Callum MacKinnon from Coldstream, aged 10, after taking part in the Young Handler Class, had his moment of glory when he accompanied his father, Alan MacKinnon into the Main Arena for the Grand Parade with their clipped Suffolk ewe, Thistledoo Thelma.

This superb ewe had already swept to victory as both the Suffolk Champion, and won the Overall Sheep Championship, when she was selected as the Reserve Champion of Champions, one of the highest accolades of the day. Both father and son were delighted with the results of their big day out.

And children’s talents were also applauded by the judges of the Competitive Home Crafts Section. Chief Steward, Mrs Lesley Rowell, said, “I’m truly impressed by the quality of the entries, and by how many children have been inspired to take part as this is the first year we’ve offered these classes.” Perhaps they will one day attain one of the special prizes awarded to highest point scorer in Cookery and Mrs Helen Hodgson of Knitsley, near Consett, or Mrs Elizabeth Manners from Morpeth who carried off not just a silver salver, but a £10 gift voucher from Village Lanterne in Stanhope, for the most points in the Handicrafts Section Mrs Caroline Bean from Muggleswick, near Consett, won the special award for photography; Mrs Patricia Easby from Wall, claimed the most number of points in the preserve section.

Celebrating her 12th birthday, Lilia Schaible had many reasons to enjoy the day. After carefully removing her birthday badge before entering the ring, she rode to victory in the Mini Working Hunter Pony class. This prize is extra special to her as the Silver Salver trophy for this event was donated by her family in memory of their much loved grandmother, Marie Schaible. Her mother, Nicola Schaible, told us “She’s on cloud nine! On top of that, her sister Claudia won the 14 hand class and won Reserve Champion, and her little sister Madeleine came second in the Mountain and Moorland Nursery classes.” The family come from Darlington, and are well known on the equine circuit. Nicola juggles the demands of working as a doctor at the Headlam Emergency Department, with her six children and all their ponies. She said, “The boys are not as keen on dressing up as their sisters, but they love to jump on their backs to act out sword fights from Harry Potter films!”

The Border Stick Dressing Association was celebrating its 60th year of attendance at the County Show. Wilf Laidler, Section Steward, recalls the first year of the competition; “It was 1953, just a couple of years after the group was founded, and the show was held in Hulne Park in Alnwick.” To mark the anniversary, there was a special prize of a Border Fine Arts limited edition ornament of a Tup and Two Ewes, presented to Steve Bell, from Goxhill in Lincolnshire, who won Best in Show.

A foreman in a civil engineering company, he has been turning sticks for many years and travels the length and breadth of the country to show off his skills. The winning stick was immaculately simple; the handle had a high gloss finish in a smoky, cloudy grey colour. He explained, “There’s something very pure and perfect about a plain stick, and the quality of the construction and material is completely exposed. You can’t hide any faults behind carving or embellishment. It’s made from coloured buffalo horn, which is extremely rare and expensive. In fact most buffalo horns like this get exported straight to China where they make buttons from it. That seems such a waste.” His stick had also won the Scottish Champion of Champions last year so Mr Bell was rightly proud of it.

The Dog Show welcomed over 800 pedigree dogs to the new rings at Bywell. With another record level of entries for Border Terriers and excellent entrants in all classes, the Best in Show competition saw a superb canine line up. The top prize was won by Mr Stewart Plane’s gorgeous Scottish Terrier, Champion Stuane Florette, usually known as ‘Flo’. From Seaham, Mr Plane is a regular attendee of the show, and Flo has been crowned ‘Best Scottie’ for the last two years. He bred her himself, and was thrilled that she won Pup of the Year at Crufts in 2011. He said, “I have a litter of pups due in a few weeks, so I’m hoping there will be another champion among them!” The Reserve Best in Show went to a bright eyed three year old Beagle called Champion Storm Pasture Holomoli owned by Mr Brian Foster and Mr Phil Jones of Newton Aycliffe. One of the largest dogs at the show actually won Best Puppy. A huge, gentle natured Irish Wolfhound, Strickenoak Clanrickarde, owned by Mr and Mrs Wilkes took this trophy.

In the next door marquee, the organisers of the Poultry Section were grateful that there were no ruffled feathers with over a hundred terriers in such close proximity. Their section saw record entries once again, with 405 birds, 102 eggs and 25 ducks being assessed by the judges. Their new sponsor, Dispak Ltd, was thrilled to support such a vibrant and exciting section. Vicky Pepys, the secretary said, ‘There was a constant stream of visitors whilst judging was going on and as soon as the central space opened we noticed that we even had a queue!’

The judges came together for Show Champion and Reserve Champion decisions and opinions were unanimous when viewing the line-up of potential winners in Championship Row. ‘This was a real show bird, what we call a ‘12 o clock’ bird, it was very well presented, great care had been taken in preparing it’ Mr Kerr, judge, says of the male Gold Dutch True Bantam from Adrian Knaggs of Malton, North Yorkshire, a first time at Northumberland County Show exhibitor.

Mr Kerr is keen on presenting informative public- friendly poultry shows ‘ Some shows must seem like a secret society to the public with no explanation about what is happening or what the birds are’ he says.

Nearby, the Rabbits and Cavies were equally competitive, and equally glad for the well behaved terriers. This year saw magnificent Silver Rabbit win Best in Show, having already attained the title of Best Fancy Rabbit. Owner, Mr Belgian of Darlington, was very pleased with the outcome. A6 Toys, who support the Rabbit Section were also kind enough to donate two of their special edition tractors for winners of the free Treasure Trail that took place around the showground.

Many goat owners arrived the day before for their animals to be milked, or ‘stripped out’ by the stewards in preparation for the 24 hour long milk production competitions. It was the winner of the Best Milker Competition, Aphrodite Shamara, that went on to become Best in Show, to the delight of owner Mrs E Woodmass of Heugh Brae, Brampton.

The Shearing Section was anticipating a thrilling competition with thirty entries in total, and a record fifteen in the PK Nutrition Open Shears. One such hopeful was Welshman Gareth Daniel. In last year’s World Championships, held in Masterton, New Zealand, he achieved 5th place. Gareth, twice crowned the Champion Shearer of Wales, returned this year to defend his title at Northumberland County Show. He was not disappointed, and once more went home with the top prize. His time scores were exceptional, shearing 20 sheep in a little over 15 minutes.

Those who had queued to get there were glad they had waited, and their patience was rewarded. With fairground rides, freshly cooked local food, beer tents, entertainment, live music and shopping, everyone enjoyed the atmosphere and spectacle of the day and loved the beautiful location with its backdrop of ancient parkland on the banks of the River Tyne.

Northumberland Show

  Related Links
link Show Dates
link Limousin Supreme Champion at Beef Expo 2013
link Bluefaced Leicester Sheep Association Scoops Best Breed Stand
link NSA North Sheep 2013

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