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Changes ahead for Northumberland County Show

There were hellos, goodbyes and lively debate at this week’s Northumberland County Show AGM. With a record turnout of over fifty committee members and stewards attending, it was an opportunity to meet recently appointed Event Organiser and Secretary, Judy Willis, and to wish outgoing Secretary, Gaynor Scandle, good luck in her new career.

The meeting opened with an address from the President, George Hutchinson. After welcoming Judy to the team, a minute’s silence was observed in memory of three longstanding supporters of the Show who passed away this year; Mr William Oliver, Mr Handyside-Barron and Mrs Kate Stephenson.

George Hutchinson, President; Judy Willis (Event Organiser/Show Secretary); Chris Chomse, Chairman

George Hutchinson, President; Judy Willis (Event Organiser/Show Secretary); Chris Chomse, Chairman

Mr Hutchinson was joined by Show Chairman, Chris Chomse, in giving enthusiastic thanks to both Gaynor Scandle, who stepped down from her position as Show Secretary this summer, and Diane Harrison, longstanding Secretary of the Cattle Section and member of the Management Committee, who also relinquished her post this year. Both ladies were awarded Life Membership in gratitude for their outstanding contribution to the Show, and Gaynor was also presented with a specially commissioned painting and a photo book from the Committee. Both were visibly moved during the presentation and clearly touched by everyone’s warm wishes.

There were other changes to the team; Mrs Vicky Pepys, Secretary of the Poultry Section has taken a step back; Gaynor Scandle, although no longer Show Secretary, is still very much involved in the Show as Treasurer and Steward in the Equine Section. The Management Committee welcomed John Rowland and Mike Douglas; and the wider Committee also introduced Mark Scandle, Rachel Raine, Clare Dent and Mark Carrington to their ranks.

Judy Willis, despite only eight weeks in the role, presented a range of fresh ideas to the committee for discussion. A new logo is under review, promising a strong brand identity for the event, which is one of the most popular one day attractions in the north east. Prize money for the Sheep Section is going up this year with a new British Native Breed section being added following popular demand; and most controversially, the closing date for entries will be brought forward by one week to April 25th 2015. It was agreed that in future it will always be one calendar month before the show’s date to ensure the rapidly rising exhibitors are accurately represented in the Show’s Catalogue, and give sufficient time for allocating equipment, parking and other resources, essential for the safety and enjoyment of all visitors.

Other matters arising included the distribution of charitable donation and an appeal for nominations for Long Service Awards for those who have over thirty years’ service in an agricultural related industry. Thanks were given to the Beaumont family and Allendale Estates, on whose land the Show takes place.

The Ladies’ Committee, led by Mrs Lesley Rowell of Ovington, kept energy levels high with their delicious selection of home baking, and their superb supper was greatly appreciated by all.


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