After the success of last year’s Young Sheep Handlers Class, organisers of the County Show have relaxed the criteria this year to allow children to show any sheep of their choice.
Robert Raine, chief steward of the Sheep Section, explained: “In previous years the rule stated youngsters could only show ‘a lamb’ in this class.
“We’re always eager to act on feedback, and as a result of requests to show shearlings and older tups, we’ve opened up the class to all sheep. This year the little ones can bring their favourite sheep, no matter how old it is.”
Last year’s bitterly cold lambing season promised a poor turnout at the show, but on show day there was an excellent standard of entrants, and the quality of lambs was as high as ever.
This spring’s lambing season is almost upon us, and with kinder weather, Robert is optimistic there will be a superb show.
Schedules were released at the start of March with a new facility to enter classes via the show’s website.
Robert says: “Our online application system is proving to be very popular. It’s all go for sheep farmers at the minute, so this will save them a lot of time and hassle.”
The new sheep facilities have been made possible through the financial support of longstanding sponsors and funding from the Rural Development Programme for England
YoungsRPS have renewed their sponsorship for the Sheep Section, and a class in the Alpaca Section. To assist visitors in navigating the huge showground, the company has also provided signage, in the style of their ‘For Sale’ boards highlighting key facilities and information points.
For more than 20 years Charles Raine (no relation to Robert), partner of YoungsRPS, has been involved in the County Show.
As a farmer’s son from Cumbria, he was brought up among Swaledale and Blue-faced Leicester sheep, and his father is a renowned breeder of fine Mules.
Charles said: “I think it’s very important to support the County Show. It’s the one day of the year when everyone gets to showcase all that is great about rural life in the region.”
Youngs merged with RPS in 2012 to create a strong brand in the North East, offering a full range of rural property and land management services.
Last year they were agents in one of the largest land sales ever recorded in the North East when 4,500 acres in Northumberland were acquired by the Crown Estates from Alcan Farms.
The firm recently recruited Tom Oates as a new partner based at the Alnwick office.