New faces and fresh ideas for Children's Countryside Day

The Glendale Agricultural Society's (GAS) renowned Children's Countryside Day has appointed a new chairman as it prepares for its 2015 event

Laura Smales with her children and new Children's Countryside Day chairman Andrew Reed
Laura Smales with her children and new Children's Countryside Day chairman Andrew Reed

The Glendale Agricultural Society’s (GAS) renowned Children’s Countryside Day has appointed a new chairman as it prepares for its 2015 event, aimed at teaching town and city children about where their food comes from.

Well-known Northumberland farmer Andrew Reed, who has been a committee member for a number of years, has taken over the role.

He said: “As a farmer and therefore a producer of food, I am very proud to be associated with the Children’s Countryside Day, which is a truly inspirational event for children.

“Since its inception 11 years ago, we have given thousands of children a glimpse of rural life and the chance to find out where their food comes from.

“I am looking forward to chairing the event for the first time this year, and along with all of the other committee members, we aim to ensure that once again hundreds of children get what is quite literally a taste of the countryside.”

Also joining the now-eight-strong committee is mother-of-three Laura Smales, from Bowsden, who works in her family farming business.

“I’m delighted to be sharing my ideas and supporting what is a hugely important event,” she said.

“As a mum of young children, I know how vital it is for them to learn about where their food comes from and find out about life in the countryside.

“The Children’s Countryside Day does this in a fun way, and helps children to create life-long memories and enjoy a unique experience.”

Aimed at primary school pupils aged between five and nine, the Children’s Countryside Day has catered for more than 15,000 youngsters in just over a decade.

During that time, Glendale Agricultural Society has raised around £175,000 in grants to help fund the programme, ensuring children can attend free of charge.

The event, which was this year over-subscribed within four days of sending out information packs, relies entirely on the goodwill of volunteers, with around 250 helping on the day itself.

They and the committee are supported by just one part-time member of staff, Ruth Oldfield, who said: “Andrew has some great ideas for the day as the new chair of the committee, and we’re also delighted to secure the services of Laura to bring new input to what we’re doing.

“They both enjoy a strong farming background and are the parents of young children, which means they’re ideally placed to understand both what the Countryside Day is aiming to get across, and the best way to transfer that information so that children understand it.

“Today, children spend so much of their free time looking at screens, and their direct relationship with the countryside and farming is often very tenuous.

“It’s important that the Children’s Countryside Day can bridge that gap in their knowledge, in a fun and interactive way.

“Last year, children learnt about how milk is used to make cheese, butter and ice cream, and we’re now planning this year’s theme and interactive sessions that we’re confident will be just as successful.”

The Children’s Countryside Day won the Northumberland National Park Young People’s Mentor Award 2013 and the Bayer FACE Innovative Learning Award in 2011.

For information can be found at


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer