2016 Royal Cheshire County Show - photo special
- Credit: Archant
Awards were won, breathtaking stunts performed and with so much to see and do, it could only be the Royal Cheshire County Show, writes Rebekka O’Grady.
It looked like wellington boots may have been on the cards for visitors at this year’s Royal Cheshire County Show, but once again the weather pulled through into glorious sunshine for the popular two-day agricultural event. The Tabley showground welcomed upwards of 75,000 people into the show, which is an impressive turnout to celebrate this year’s inaugural royal status.
‘It was the wettest start to a show I’ve seen in my time here, which is always a possibility with a large outdoor event in a rural setting such as ours,’ said executive director Nigel Evans. ‘However, the ground dried out nicely – we had brilliant sunshine throughout which made it bright and warm for visitors and traders alike. Overall, it was a very pleasant two days.’
One of the most popular aspects of the show is the chance to compete in a variety of classes, ranging from livestock and horses, to dogs and poultry. For the first time, the show also hosted both the Red Poll and South Devon National Shows for cattle. With competitors travelling from as far as Scotland to as close as Knutsford on the doorstep, it makes for a very busy time for those behind the scenes in the trophy tent.
‘There are just over 400 trophies at this year’s show, so when someone comes to the tent very excited about winning, we have to be able to locate it quite quickly!,’ said Rosemary Hague, the chief steward of the trophy section. Rosemary, who lives in Middlewich, has been volunteering since 1974. Prior to that, she was a competitor in show jumping when the show was located in Hooton.
‘The show has always been a part of my life. My parents and uncle used to be involved too. I was asked to take this job on, and over the years it has grown and there is more to look after – I am grateful for the free help from other volunteers.
‘It’s not just about displaying the trophies on show days, we need to get them back from the previous winners, re-label them, ensure the correct engraving is done by our in-house silversmith, polish and then pack them up for transport with its new owner for the year. Some trophies are as old as 1860. My own favourite is the cheese trophy, which is shaped as a mouse.’
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Winners of one award were the Cheshire Young Farmers’ Association, who were awarded the prize of best scarecrow by Cheshire Life editor, Louise Allen-Taylor. The World War Two solider, complete with a Jeremy Clarkson face mask, was created by several members of the YFA, said county chairlady, Hannah Barton.
‘It was great to be awarded the prize. We have a lot of fun each year at the show. We’ve been involved since it began and encourage anyone to come by the stand for a cup of tea or a glass of Pimms to hear more about what we do.’
Middlewich YFA also took home the accolade for best float, which was presented by the YFA national chair of council, Chris Manley, in the main ring on the second day of the show.
Thousands enjoyed showground favourites in the Countryside Experience Arena, such as the fascinating ferret show, heavy horse riding and gun dog displays. One four-legged spectator wanted to get involved in the action while watching the Wilmslow Wild Dogs Flyball team. Dan Morrison’s two-year-old sheepdog Max couldn’t contain his excitement while watching the other dogs in the arena race around.
‘We’ve been coming to the show since he was a puppy,’ said Dan, who lives in Chester. ‘He loves watching the other dogs and just wants to join in.’
At Manchester Airport fire service’s stall, this year visitors had the chance dunk their very own fireman. Crew members have been at the show for the past ten years, and over the last five have raised around £10,000 for different charities. Crew manager Simon Connolly, who was busy rallying new contenders to dunk his colleague into a tub of water, said: ‘This year we are raising money for CLIC Sergent. It’s a great way to get people involved, have a laugh and raise money for a worthy cause.’
As always, the Creamline Dairies Main Ring was a popular destination, with many visitors turning out to see the spectacular performances from Atkinson Action Horses. Their recent TV appearances include scenes in Poldark and Peaky Blinders and the Cheshire Show audience were wowed by the stunts and tricks from the expert horses and riders. The Pony Club Games final also garnered attention, with East Cheshire putting in a good performance but unfortunately unable to take the top spot.
Royal Cheshire County Show chairman, Tony Garnett, said: ‘I wish to thank everyone who attended this year’s show. In particular, I wish to thank the hundreds of volunteers who dedicated their time to ensuring the event went as smoothly as possible, from setting up to handing out information to visitors. You are a credit to the local community for whom the show is so important.’ w
The next Royal Cheshire County Show will be at the Tabley Showground on June 20th and 21st 2017