Increased prize money and new sections are on the menu for the North East’s premier agricultural show.
Organisers of the Northumberland County Show - which attracts more than 20,000 people to its Bywell home each May - have planned a number of changes to what has become one of the most popular and well-respected events in the Northern agricultural calendar.
At the show’s AGM this week, organisers agreed to increase prize money in the sheep section and also to introduce a new British Native Breed category following popular demand.
The organisers have also brought forward closing dates for entries to April 25, 2015, a month before the show. The move was introduced - despite worries that some may find it controversial - so that the growing numbers of exhibitors at the show are properly represented in the show’s catalogue.
The AGM welcomed new secretary Judy Willis, who comes to the county show having worked in event management for the police and at the London 2012 Olympics. A vote of thanks was taken for her predecessor, Gaynor Scandle, along with Diane Harrison, longstanding secretary of the cattle section, who is also standing down.
A spokesman for the show said: “Judy Willis, despite only eight weeks in the role, presented a range of fresh ideas to the committee for discussion.
“A new logo is under review, promising a strong brand identity for the event, which is one of the most popular one day attractions in the North East.
“Prize money for the Sheep Section is going up this year with a new British Native Breed section being added following popular demand; and most controversially, the closing date for entries will be brought forward by one week to April 25th 2015.”
Tribute was paid at the AGM to three longstanding supporters of the county show who had passed away this year: William Oliver, Mr Handyside-Barron and Kate Stephenson. The committee also thanked the Beaumont family and the Allendale estates, on whose land the show takes place.
Next year’s event will take place on May 25, the third year at its Bywell home after a move from nearby Corbridge.
The event is both an agricultural show - with hotly livestock contested livestock classes - and a popular day out which regularly attracts more than 20,000 visitors to the Tyne Valley.