Keeping tradition alive for generations
- Credit: sub
The youngest generation of the Stamp family is busy training for and leading the preparations for this year’s Royal Bath and West Show
Archie, aged eight, and Harry, aged four, from Mark, in Somerset, are busy training their lambs ready for the moment they lead them out in front of judges and the waiting crowds in the show’s Young Handlers category this May.
And while the boys, who both go to Mark First School, are taking their turn in the spotlight, their parents will also be working behind the scenes to ensure the event runs smoothly, as they have done for more than a decade.
Rachel and Steve, both 38, first got involved with the show as Young Farmers when the organisers appealed to the group for stewards.
It’s a role the couple have played ever since, stewarding the sheep section, with Archie and Harry attending every show since they were born. And completing the family line-up is Rachel’s father Maurice Wall, who has commentated at the show for the past few years.
Rachel, who works for Kingshay Dairy Consultancy, said: “The events in the parade ring are something the boys have seen every year and a couple of years ago Archie and some others the same age decided they wanted to give it a go. Then last year Harry took part, too.”
Now the brothers’ love of competing means the Bath & West will mark the start of a summer of shows where they will proudly present their lambs and show off their handling skills.
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Rachel said: “The kids have to halter-break the lambs and have spent a lot of time leading them around and also making sure they are quiet enough for the show, as sheep aren’t naturally quiet animals!
“On Sunday afternoon, they get them out on the lawn and parade around to rehearse - we even have to ask them questions like they do at the show. They really enjoy it.”
Besides the shows, Archie is a keen rider with dreams of becoming a jockey when he is older, while Harry is just ‘mad keen’ on anything to do with farming, says Rachel.
This year will be Harry’s second time in the ring, and big brother Archie’s third.
Last year Archie came second in his class while Harry, making his debut at the age of just three, won his age category and later went on to be named overall reserve champion among the young handlers.
It was also a good year for Rachel and Environment Agency worker Steve, as they were named champions in the commercial lambs class, with sheep from the flock they keep at their smallholding, alongside a herd of cattle.
While the family’s stewarding duties and competition entries keep them very busy at the show, they do make time to visit some of the event’s other attractions and Rachel says it is definitely something the whole family can get involved in.
She said: “Whereas 10 years ago you might get two or three kids in the classes, now there are always at least 15, it’s getting really popular with the children.”
The 151st Royal Bath & West Show will take place from May 28-31 at the Royal Bath & West Showground in Shepton Mallet where, alongside the animal and livestock attractions, there will also be cheese and cider championships, the traditional Ladies’ Day, trade stands, gardening area, a motocross stunt show and much more.
The show is one of the oldest surviving agricultural shows in England and is the only one to take place over four days.
The showground will feature all that is best about being British, from cheese to cider, as well as the country’s best livestock, agricultural machinery, trade-stands, locally produced food and drink, as well as activities for all the family.
Carry on Camping at the Royal Bath and West Show 2014
It may not have Sid James or Barbara Windsor from the Carry On films but the Royal Bath and West Show will be carrying on camping after a successful revival.
Last year was the first time visitors to the four-day show were able to camp or bring a caravan in six years.
Following its success a section of the orange car park – close to the A371 near the showground in Shepton Mallet - will once again be set aside for caravans and campers .
Alan Lyons, show manager, said: “We’ve made it simpler this year as it’s just £10 per night for the pitch and visitors can buy their tickets separately. “It’s a really good value for money offer and is coupled with early bird show tickets on sale now giving people the chance to save money.”
The camp site, which will be stewarded, will have toilets, an elsan point and a water stand pipe.
Dogs are welcome on a short lead. The pitches are 6.5m wide.
Camping passes and tickets can be bought online.
Advance saver tickets will be on sale until 26 May at £19 for an adult, £5 for a child or £48 for a family.
Gate prices are £22 for an adult, £7 for a child and £55 for a family.
Find out more and book tickets at bathandwest.com or call 0844 7766777.