Bakewell Show 2010, Derbyshire

Photographs from the 180th annual Bakewell Show.

Bakewell Show – one of the oldest agricultural shows in the country and the largest in the county – celebrated its 180th anniversary in style. Visitors met with both sunshine and showers over the two days as they wandered round the vast showground enjoying the range of competitions, demonstrations, trade stands and stalls finding something to entertain round every corner. The Royal Artillery motorcycle display team topped the programme in the main ring with a thrilling display of skill and daring.

Among the visitors was Jim Paice MP, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food. Mr Paice was touring the top event at the invitation of the Duke of Devonshire, this year’s president. Although it was a private visit, he found himself answering questions from radio and television journalists hungry for a comment on his thoughts about the presence of products from cloned animals in the food chain.

It was his first visit to the Show, which he described as wonderful. He said there was a tremendous range of exhibitions and events and he was impressed by the flowers and floral art.

‘I looked at the cattle and saw some superb examples of the best of British livestock,’ he said. Asked if he would be reporting about the show to David Cameron, Mr Paice said: ‘He should visit some time. There will be plenty for him to see.’ Show manager Janet Bailey commented: ‘We would be more than happy to play host to the Prime Minister should he wish to come next year.’

Sean Wilson, famous for playing Coronation Street’s Martin Platt for 21 years, returned with produce from his Saddleworth Cheese Company. He did not quite repeat last year’s success when he won first prize for Best Crumbly and the Specialist Cheesemakers’ Association Trophy with his ‘Muldoon’s Picnic’, achieving second place behind his mentor Bob Kitchen. Sean’s ‘Smelly Apeth’, by far his best seller, won bronze in the blue creamy section.

Sean, whose cheeses are available from The Cheddar Gorge at Ashbourne and Chatsworth Farm Shop amongst others, enjoys fishing along the Wye. He said he loves the traditional show with its friendly folk and ‘would love to come back every year.’

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Weather presenter and musical theatre performer Des Coleman was signing autographs at the BBC East Midlands stand. Another first-timer, he described the show as stunning. ‘It’s great for so many people to come along and see the different attractions that the countryside has to offer,’ he said. Des, from Derby, said it would be great for people from the centre of the city to visit.

With some horse classes held on the Tuesday there are whispers about the idea of extending the Show to three days. ‘I would love to see it as a full three day show,’ said Janet, with financial director Geoffrey Crawford quickly adding: ‘It’s got to be financially viable.’

Janet said the main priority is to build new headquarter offices – delayed because of the costs – to replace the 40-year-old single-storey wooden building affectionately known as ‘the chicken hut’. A committee has been set up with the aim of raising �160,000 towards the projected costs of a replacement, which are expected to be around �360,000.

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