College’s virtual event offers only chance to win prized 2020 Royal Norfolk Show rosettes
- Credit: Jade Lanham
The Royal Norfolk Show may not be happening this summer – but agriculture students hope to fill the void by launching a virtual event which has now become the only way to win the show’s coveted livestock rosettes.
The 2020 prize rosettes have been donated to Easton College to present to the winners of its virtual show on July 1 and 2 – the dates when the county’s annual showcase was due to be held before its cancellation amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Lecturers hope the initiative, backed by the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, will teach the students new skills and contribute to their academic studies while many have been away from college during the lockdown, as well as recreating the sense of community spirit which surrounds the livestock arenas at the showground.
And with unique circumstances turning this year’s rosettes into potential collector’s items, they are hoping for a significant entry from Norfolk’s farming community.
There are expected to be more than 70 competition classes including cattle, pigs, sheep, machinery and young handlers, as well as fun novelty categories.
Anyone can enter by submitting videos and photos which will be judged by students on the virtual showdays.
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Jade Lanham, an agriculture skills tutor at the college, said: “Obviously there’s no Royal Norfolk this year, which is disappointing because everybody loves and meets up at a county show.
“So we decided it would be nice to bring everyone together and support the college by creating a virtual show, led by the Level 3 students. It is such a hard time at the moment, with lots of young children really disappointed that there are no shows so we have included young handler and novelty classes so there is something for everyone.”
William Haire, a livestock lecturer at the college and formerly agriculture development manager at the East of England Showground in Peterborough, said the show was an indication of Easton’s ambitions following its merger with City College Norwich at the start of this year. He said: “This is just the start of some of the more exciting things we are doing to sell the college to prospective students, to get the industry on board and get Easton College back in the heart of the community in Norfolk.
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“This year’s Royal Norfolk Show rosettes are going to be a very rare commodity – and if you want one of those 2020 rosettes, you’re going to have to get it from us.”
Abi Keene, the college’s head of area for land-based, added: “It is real-life experience for the students. We are very lucky to have William on board with us and Jade also comes from a stock background so they can pass on these essential skills to the next generation on how to judge the livestock and what they are looking for.
“It is really about enthusing the skills and the knowledge that we now have in the department since the merger with CCN to give the students relevant skills that will take them through and make those essential links in the industry. “We’re very aware of how symbiotic the college has to be with the Norfolk farming community.”
RNAA chief executive Greg Smith said: “We are delighted to be able to support this virtual event created by the Easton College students.
“This is an excellent initiative which we are all looking forward to immensely and felt it only right to contribute the rosettes to recognise the efforts of the exhibitors and the students alike.”
• To request a show catalogue and entry forms, contact VirtualShowEntries@ccn.ac.uk. Entrants are asked to submit videos 1-2 minutes long for livestock classes, with good quality colour photos for the other classes. Entries close at 5pm on June 24. Entries are free but donations are encouraged for the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) via the Easton Agriculture & Countryside Facebook page.