The Shropshire County Show in words and pictures

PUBLISHED: 13:25 20 July 2010 | UPDATED: 17:34 20 February 2013

The riders from the Bold Dog Lings Motocross group, from left, Dan Whitby, Samson Eaton and Aaron Powley

The riders from the Bold Dog Lings Motocross group, from left, Dan Whitby, Samson Eaton and Aaron Powley

Howard Franklin has a splendid day meeting fellow guests and exhibitors at the new County Show

Shropshires show of strength

Howard Franklin has a splendid day meeting fellow guests and exhibitors at the new County Show

The new Shropshire County Show was held on two of the hottest days of the summer and brought out thousands of supporters to the Berwick Estate Showground. This was a real celebration of agriculture and rural life at its best.

The event replaces the West Midland Show which ran for 120 years. In my opinion it is now better than ever,returning to its farming roots and traditions including the show stewards and officials wearing bowler hats.

I arrived at the showground to meet exhibitors before attending the official luncheon in my capacity as president of Shrewsbury Flower Show and at the invitation of the County Show president Thomas Acton.

Those who know me well will confirm I am very keen on shopping and there were so many things to see and purchase at this event. One marquee was dedicated to antiques, another to food. Emma Cardwell of Shropshire Food Enterprise Centre at Battlefield (07879 776498) produces delicious flavoured butters. I really liked Box Fresh Organics (01952 770006) with free home delivery in Shropshire, from Rodenhurst Farm at Rodington, of the finest organic fruits and vegetables from 10.45 a box. Who would bother with tasteless supermarket products when you can have locally-grown and sourced produce? Fiona Mulroy of the Shropshire Spice Company from Clun (01588 640100) has a huge range of flavoured coatings and recipe ideas. They are free from artificial flavouring or colouring and should be in everyones store cupboard.

Quirkiest idea at the show was from Travelloo which produces a tiny, hi-tech disposable pouch to have in the car for the next time you are taken short in a ten-mile traffic jam on a motorway for three hours! Ideal for parents, campers, hikers and travellers to third world countries.

In the livestock pens I admired the Hereford cattle with 120 animals in this section alone. Breeders had travelled from America, Canada and Australia to exhibit. I saw Michael and Hazel Timmis from Baschurch who breed Herefords and Sam Dixon from Atcham who has a herd of Jersey cows. BBC Countryfile presenters Matt Baker and Julia Bradbury were busy filming and praised the diversity of the show. I saw pig farmer Fiona Jefferson from Whitchurch and Roger Everall who has the finest flock of Charollais Sheep on the Welsh border. What fun seeing Michelle Huxley showing her llamas named Chile, Mercedes and Peru.

At the official luncheon, superbly catered by Jenny Swain, I met representatives of some of the show sponsors. GKN Wheels and Auto Structures of Hadley; Turner Peachey Chartered Accountants of Shrewsbury; Wrexham and Shropshire Railway and NOM Dairy which, I was told, produces the finest yogurts.

I was at vice chairman Neil Sadlers table. Neil is always so welcoming and is a great asset to the new organising committee. I was seated next to Malcolm Roberts chairman of the NFU in Shropshire; he farms near Oswestry and expressed his concerns for the decline in the dairy industry. On my left was Joyce Barrow, a Shropshire councillor for St Oswald Division in Oswestry. She looked very elegant in a cerise and black silk dress with a simple string of pearls and we chatted happily throughout the meal. The president, Thomas Acton, spoke of the West Midlands being a rather ill-defined area, whereas the name of Shropshire, the largest inland county, seemed a more appropriate title for the new show. Tom was accompanied by his delightful wife Lucy wearing a cream linen suit and straw picture-hat.

After luncheon I met John and Carolyn Davies from Longford Old Hall, near Market Drayton. Carolyn is a stalwart of the show and like her late mother, Sylvia Hamar from Clun, is someone who can be totally relied on, and who has boundless energy. Roy Dodd, the ever-smiling chairman of the show told me they had organised the whole event in four months: Think what we can do given 12 months, he said. Roys wife Annie Home-Dodd looked so smart in a cool floating chiffon dress in sea-green with a burnt chocolate coloured design and matching fine-straw hat. I chatted to Rosemary Jones a vice- president who has tirelessly worked for the show and whose family has been associated with it over several generations. Rosemary told me her daughter and granddaughter are now part of the hands-on team.

I met the deputy mayor and mayoress of Shrewsbury, Tony and Patricia Durnell, who were greatly enjoying their day at the show.

This was a show for everyone, I have only been able to touch on a small part of my day which also included enjoying the inter-hunt relay and the YFC floats in the main arena, but there was so much more for a really good family day out.

Many congratulations to the organising committee and all those loyal supporters of our agricultural heritage in Shropshire; you all deserve medals for your efforts, I loved my day and everything the show provided.

Roll on 2011 and the second Shropshire County Show.

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