September 18 2014 Latest news:
Monday, August 4, 2014
One of the UK’s longest-running agricultural shows brought thousands of people to Watton for a “feel-good” family encounter with farm animals and a spectacular line-up of countryside entertainment.
Helped by glorious summer sunshine, the Wayland Show’s organisers hope the attendance for Sunday’s 141st annual event could eclipse last year’s record-breaking turnout of 15,000.
In the parade rings, the livestock being assessed by the judges included 130 cattle and 270 sheep, while the audience which crowded around the grand ring were shown vintage tractors, heavy horses, a breathless display from equestrian display team Jive Pony and dizzying aerobatics from Nick Houghton in his Pitts S1-11B biplane
Kevin Bowes, president of the Wayland Agricultural Society, said: “It is fabulous. We couldn’t wish for better weather – although a few of the farmers may have been out combining.
“We have got a record number of trade stands and there is more and more interest in this type of show. We are trying to educate the general public about the way of the countryside, how we live and where their food comes from.
“We don’t have big sheds, so it is very easy for people to see the animals. It is very accessible and there are no hiding places out here. It is not a massive show but it is a touchy-feely, feel-good show.”
Among those who had travelled to Norfolk especially for the show were Chris and Sally Ayles, who drove from Hertford with their two-year-old daughter Rachel.
Mr Ayles, a 44-year-old IT worker, said: “The show is a lovely size for her. She can get really close to the animals and it is really important to us that she gets an appreciation of where her food comes from. People think that milk comes out of bottles, rather than cows.”
Exhibitors included Andrew Barrett, who brought along some of the Kerry Hill sheep which his family keep in King’s Lynn – a breed which he described as having “the X factor” for agricultural shows.
“They are very showy and stylish sheep, and they have a bit of attitude too,” he said. “I think it’s very important for this generation of children to see animals like this.
“One of the key things for us is to get the children interested in farming and to keep flying the flag for British agriculture. Without children coming into the job, there is no future.”
Show chairman Ian Whettingsteel said: “The fact that families can get close to the animals is one of the reasons people come back year after year. We are just so proud that so many people bring their livestock such a long way, and allow the public to get up close and personal with them.”
Mr Whettingsteel also paid tribute to the volunteer committee who helped make the event such a success. Last year, the Wayland Show and its associated Spring Ball raised more than £25,000 for local charities.
“Every single person on our 50-strong committee has done phenomenal job,” he said. “I am so proud of them. Nobody gets any benefit from this, except for the charities and local organisations who receive donations from the show.”
During today’s event, the Wayland Agricultural Society also presented its 2014 Young Achiever Award to 25-year-old Sophie Evans, a poultry welfare officer for Traditional Norfolk Poultry, who was praised for her efforts to implement Freedom Food and Red Tractor standards, while seeking “innovative ways to add environmental enrichment” to the business.
Full results of the Wayland Show’s livestock competitions will appear in the EDP’s Farm and Country Pages on Saturday.