Successes in agriculture and champion cattle, cheese, pigeons and forestry were all recognised at the sell-out Great Yorkshire Show today.
Spectators were treated to the spectacular stunt riding of Lorenzo in the Main Ring and Adam Henson’s popular chat show returned to the GYS Stage.
The School Veg Box competition, which annually challenges primary schools across Yorkshire to grow British produce from scratch, was won by Mill Hill Community Primary School, Northallerton where pupils embraced the theme of ‘nutritious delicious’ by growing ingredients for a coronation celebration menu.
More than 200 farmers and industry professionals came together for the Future Farmers of Yorkshire’s popular Breakfast Meeting where they were urged to cut through tough economic challenges by focusing on factors within their control and plotting a clear plan for their businesses.
This flagship annual get-together of Future Farmers saw a diverse industry panel examine the theme ‘Bounce Without Breaking: Building Resilient Farm Businesses’.
The third national cattle championship at the Show, the British Charolais, went to a two-year-old heifer, Marne Sweetpea, owned by Robert Tremayne and Nicola Osgood of Kent. Sweetpea is one of just two Charolais they own – they also have her mother – and is in calf for the first time. Nicola said Sweetpea had taken five breed championships this year but this was their first major win.
With the importance of quality food at the top of the agenda, the Cheese and Dairy section showcased the best of British produce.
This year saw two new memorial trophies to mark the massive contribution made to the show by two significant figures in the world of cheese and dairy, David Hartley and Judy Bell.
David from Wensleydale Creamery, who passed away in 2020 was influential in the Cheese and Dairy Show being established at the Great Yorkshire Show. Judy Bell MBE was Chief Steward for many years and a passionate supporter of the show and the industry. Her position as Chief Steward was filled by her daughter, Caroline, following her death last year.
The Judy Bell Supreme Champion Cheese title went to Dewlay Cheesemakers of Garstang for their Creamy Lancashire. Managing Director
Nick Kenyon said:
I knew Judy Bell very well. She was an inspiration to us and to many people. She was a powerhouse in the industry and to receive this award is an absolute honour.
The David Hartley Supreme Champion Dairy Product Trophy went to Longley Farm, in Holmfirth, for its blackcurrant yoghurt.
Owner Jimmy Dickinson said:
David Hartley was a very prestigious person who was very much behind this show alongside Judy Bell. It is a real honour to win this award. This is for the staff at Longley who are doing a great job.
Top pigeon at the Show, the Supreme Pigeon, went to a Chinese Owl owned by Chief Pigeon Steward Keith Robson from Hurworth. Keith has been Chief Steward for 15 years but it was a school trip to the Great Yorkshire Show 58 years ago that sparked his interest in fancy pigeons and he said he thought “I could do that.” He has now bred generations of Genuine Homers and Chinese Owls.
Some of the best farms across the north of England competed for the Tye Trophy, which recognises the contribution of farmers to conservation and environmental improvement.
There were seven regional winners from across the north before the overall winners were announced, with the honours going to Malcolm and Marty Handley, who have farmed at Slaidburn in Lancashire for 35 years. They run beef cattle and sheep, with the cattle grazing moorland for part of the year. They have grassed meadows and new hedgerows and a big role in education, with students attending twice a week for two years to achieve BTEC qualifications.
We were surprised and honoured to win because we felt everyone else were worthy winners too.
The inaugural Farmland Curlew award, developed by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society and Nidderdale AONB to reward famers who make a significant contribution to curlew conservation, was also announced. Again, there were seven region winners from across the north, with the overall title going to Rebecca Dickens and Ian Bell who farm sheep and beef cattle near Brampton in Cumbria.
A host of awards were made during the show, including to land-based students and some of the Yorkshire stalwarts who have worked the land for decades, totalling 314 years between them.
Forestry was covered with the presentation of the John Boddy trophy, with the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, Royal Forestry Society and Forestry Commission joining forces to seek out the best new woodland in Yorkshire. The title went to York Community Woodland, owned by the City of York Council and tenanted by Forestry England, which is being created on the edge of the city with input from more than 400 local people and 30 local stakeholder groups.
The Royal Yorkshire Regiment’s Best Soldier of 2023 was also recognised. This year’s honours went to Private Damien McDonald of the 1st Battalion, a Civilian Armoured Vehicle driver from Rotherham who joined the Army when his job in a door factory was being automated and he wanted to provide stability for his young family.
Charles Mills, Show Director, said:
Today was a real celebration of a great variety of different aspects of rural life, from food production to forestry, and we heard some great stories about the conservation initiatives from farmers across the north.