Wayland Show celebrates the best of East Anglia’s rural industry

Wayland Show 2016. Picture by Lee Blanchflower.

Wayland Show 2016. Picture by Lee Blanchflower.

The 143rd Wayland Show brought thousands of visitors to Watton on Sunday to experience the best of East Anglia's rural enterprise and countryside traditions.

Wayland Show 2016. Young Achiever of the Year, Will de Feyter

Wayland Show 2016. Young Achiever of the Year, Will de Feyter - Credit: Archant

For the farming fraternity, it was a chance to educate their consumers, parade their livestock and showcase their agricultural passions – with plenty of prizes on offer for everything from champion animals to vintage vehicles.

? Champion of Champions:

The show's unique Champion of Champions competition pitches the individual livestock winners against each other, with this year's top prize going to a Southdown ewe – the highlight of an exhausting weekend for its owner.

Amy Readhead-Higgins, who runs the Sutherland flock at Leiston in Suffolk, spent the previous day competing with her animals at the Southdown Sheep Society's 125th anniversary weekend at Goodwood in West Sussex. Her home-bred shearling ewe Gloria was placed fourth in her class at that event but – after a swift change of venue – she was crowned the overall victor at Wayland the next day.

Wayland Show 2016. Show president Kevin Bowes congratulates one of the prize-winning young handlers.

Wayland Show 2016. Show president Kevin Bowes congratulates one of the prize-winning young handlers. - Credit: Archant

Mrs Readhead-Higgins said: 'There was a dinner dance on Saturday night, so I was dancing at midnight and then I got up at 3.50am to pack my tent away and load the sheep up. But here I am, and it was definitely worth coming.

'It (the Champion of Champions contest) is just so unusual. I don't know any other show that does this, so it's great fun to take part, and it is amazing to win it. I don't recall a sheep winning it for a while, and I don't think a Southdown has ever won it.'

Most Read

? Young Achiever Award:

The Wayland Agricultural Society's 2016 Young Achiever of the Year award was given to a 24-year-old entrepreneur aiming to expand his meat venture.

Wayland Show 2016. Amy Readhead-Higgins with her champion Southdown ewe.

Wayland Show 2016. Amy Readhead-Higgins with her champion Southdown ewe. - Credit: Archant

William de Feyter set up his own agri-business from his home base at Atthills Farm in East Ruston, including finishing pigs for British Quality Pigs, doing contract labour for nearby farms and running a flock of 130 commercial ewes.

He is developing demand for lamb sausages and boxed meat – but his cash prize will help him build a cold store to expand production and reach more customers through farmers' markets and direct sales at the farm gate.

He said: 'When I first started doing lamb I was sending them to butchers and it was not stacking up, so I thought: Let's sell to the public'.

'There is no middle man, so I am making more money and I am in control of what I am selling.

'It is also a nice way to meet the public and educate them about food and farming. It is not something I anticipated, but I find it very rewarding.

'We need the cold store to store more lamb. Most of the lamb sold through the boxes will go through farmers' markets, but we also sell from the farm gate as well. We also started doing lamb sausages, which is our niche.

'I think we have got the product right now, so it's about getting the market sorted and the consistency of supply.'

Show chairman Adrian Soskin was part of the judging panel. He said: 'We thought Will was a very entrepreneurial young man, with lots of ambition. He has already set goals and achieved them, so he has shown he has the capability of doing what he wants to do.'

• Classic Vehicles:

There was a nostalgic note to the inaugural winner of the Graham Griffiths Memorial Trophy, named in honour of the popular main ring commentator who died in February at the age of 72.

The prize for the best classic vehicle was awarded to a 1967 Morris Minor Traveller, named Madge, owned by David and Mary Stancer of Poringland, who have spent £8,000 on its restoration.

Mr Stancer, 72, said: 'The car will be 50 years old next year, and we will have been married for 50 years next year, so it is Madge's 50th anniversary too. 'The engine is original. It has not quite done 100,000 miles yet, so it ticks along quite happily. Mary uses it around the village.'

Jane Griffiths, widow of the long-serving announcer whose name was given to the trophy, helped judge the entries.

She said: 'It is very evocative in a way, because so many people used to have Morris Minors, myself included.

'It sort of took me back to the old days when most people couldn't afford a holiday, so you put a blanket and a Thermos and some sandwiches in the back of the car.

'My husband and I had been married 52 years, so it all seemed to tie in. I think it probably is what he would have chosen.'

Other vehicle prizes included the Best Tractor award for the 1956 International Harvester B250 and plough owned by Neville Alderton of Lakenheath, the Best Car was an Austin 7 owned by Bob Thrower of Bunwell, the Best Static Engine prize was presented to B Spinks of Dereham for his 1920 Lister L, and the Best Military Vehicle prize went to a collection owned by Hugh Saunders and Bob Walthew of Bradenham.

For full results including livestock, equestrian, horticulture, crafts and baking competitions, see www.waylandshow.com.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter