Two long-standing Northumberland organisations have joined forces to help ensure the success of one of the county’s most popular events.
The Hexham-based soft drinks company, Fentimans Ltd has announced it will be sponsoring two prestigious sections of the historic Northumberland County Show that takes place on Bank Holiday Monday at Bywell, near Stocksfield.
Andy Hall, marketing analyst at Fentimans Ltd, explained the decision to get involved with the traditional agricultural show.
“Back in 1905, our founder Thomas Fentiman was approached by a fellow tradesman for a loan and a recipe for ginger beer was provided as security.
“The loan was never repaid and Thomas became the sole owner of the recipe. He started producing botanically brewed ginger beer which was delivered door to door using a horse and dray.
“His ginger beer was stored in handmade stone jars which post-1935 were stamped with an image of Thomas’s cherished dog, Fearless of Dunhelm, after his success in the obedience class at Crufts.
“Fearless is still the brand image of Fentimans today and inspiration behind the company strapline, Faithful to the Originals.
“It made perfect sense for us to support the Kennel Club Dog Show held at the County Show as the winners qualify for entry to Crufts.”
Fentimans have also put their name to three classes in the Heavy Horse Section, due to the strong ties the company once had with the horse and dray.
Melanie Teasdale, one of the organisers, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Fentimans to the Show.
“They are major supporters of the British Shire Horse Society and I’ve seen their dray at the national Shire Horse shows.
“As their first deliveries were made door to door using a decorated horse and cart, it’s fitting that they continue to honour their heritage in this way.”
Fentimans is a local success story; still family-owned, the company manufactures botanically brewed soft drinks in the time-honoured way, using herbs, plant roots and natural flavourings.
Fentimans drinks are such a hit that they now export to 47 countries worldwide and won the North East’s Small Exporter of the Year Award in 2013.
Chris Chomse, the show’s chairman, added: “As a thank you to our main sponsors, donors and patrons, I always host a small reception on show day where the show’s management committee and I can thank these special people in person.
“This year Fentimans are kindly providing us with a generous selection of their beverages that we can serve at the event.
“We are very proud to be associated with this highly-respected company that, like the County Show, has been part of the history of the region for more than 100 years.”
The County Show promises to be an excellent day out for visitors, with livestock showing classes for cattle, sheep, alpacas, goats, fur and feather, and a large equine section including British Showjumping, light horses and heavy horses.
For dog lovers there is the Kennel Club Dog Show, and they can also enter their own dogs in the gundog scurry and dog agility trials.