This year’s Great Yorkshire Show was one of the biggest in its 161-year history after 135,095 visitors poured through the gates over the three days. The figure is just behind the record set in 2006 when 135,111 attended.
There were also record-breaking entries across some of the sections, including cattle classes, with 1,247 entries across beef and dairy; 2,597 entries in the sheep classes, 241 in sheep shearing and 801 entries in the Hives and Honey classes.
Show director Charles Mills said, “I was so proud to see each section looking great, the competitions were exhilarating, the entertainment, the visitors which spanned every generation – I think the show just keeps getting better and better, and the attendance numbers really reflect this.”
GALLERY: 129 pictures from the Great Yorkshire Show by photographer Stephen Garnett
The Duke of York visited during the final day of the show, on Thursday, seeing everything from fashion to the latest in farming innovations.
And show organisers were celebrating terrific viewing figures for the first episode of Today at the Great Yorkshire Show, co-presented by Bradford-born Anita Rani, when 1.6 million people across the UK tuned in at peak time on Wednesday night.
There was also a thrilling end with the prestigious Cock O’ The North showjumping competition ending in a win for jubilant Wetherby rider Richard Howley. A class field saw 11 through to the second round with nine going clear to reach the timed jump off. The packed grandstand roared Richard home clear on Sarah Borthwick’s Chinook in 49.22, beating James Wilson Imagine de Muze on 53.31 and the legendary John Whitaker taking third on 53.40 with Unick du Francport.he competition came after the traditional President’s Handover which saw Tom Ramsden hand to Charlotte Bromet, the new president of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society for the coming year.
Prince Andrew was presented with a gift by five-year-old Hannah Fox, who attends a primary school near Thirsk. He saw part of the hugely-popular fashion show with clothes from Yorkshire designers showcased on the Kuoni Catwalk in the new-look GYS Fashion Pavilion. This included Sarina Dean, whose fashion firm Galijah is run from her family’s 190-acre farm at Oldstead near York, producing individually hand-crafted tweed capes which are now selling as far afield as Japan and America.
Prince Andrew met two of the region’s leading agricultural machinery suppliers, Geoff Brown of Ripon Farm Machinery and Paul Russell of the Russell Group of Malton.
The Duke of York is shown the workings of agricultural machinery at the show
He watched showjumping in the main ring and met sculptor Emma Stothard who has created the Fodder 10 Hen to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s farm shop and café.
Prince Andrew also visited the Lely robotic milking demonstration before going on to meet renowned chef Steph Moon at the Game Cookery Theatre. The trip finished in the Military Village, where he met members of the Yorkshire Regiment.
Another high-profile visitor today was Farming Minister Robert Goodwill who attended the show to meet exhibitors and farmers, seeing the NFU and CLA stands as well as the cattle lines and the food hall.
In the equine section was the prestigious Cuddy Supreme In Hand Championship Qualifier which was won by home-bred Dartmoor broodmare Springwater Anna with foal at foot, owned by Mr and Mrs PD Tyler of Thirsk and shown by daughter Katie Mickle. Reserve went to Mrs J Day of Cheshire’s three-year-old hunter gelding, Greenhall Treasure Island, shown by Robert Walker.
The Great Yorkshire Show seen from a drone
On Wednesday, a host of awards to celebrate farming excellence were presented throughout the day, while livestock took centre stage in the judging rings.
Exhilarating displays wowed crowds in the Main Ring with the RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team dropping in as well as the Bolddog Lings Motorcycle Display Team.
In the sheep rings, the Supreme Sheep title went to a Spotted Dutch sheep shown by Ali Jackson, 29, from Scotland, on its first time out. Having won the show’s first ever breed class dedicated to the Dutch Spotted – which is gaining popularity in the UK – it was also the show’s Short Wool and Lowland Champion. Reserve sheep champion was a home-bred Texel called Procters Cinderella, from Procter Farms in Lancaster and shown by Jeff Aiken.
The cattle competitions culminated in the ever-popular Blythewood Pairs. The Native champions were a pair of Aberdeen Angus, Shadwell Estate Co Ltd of Norfolk’s bull, Shadwell Evolution, and Mr D Rankin of Perth’s cow, Kilmalaug Lady Isabelle, with calf at foot.
The Continental title went to the Supreme Beef champion British Simmental bull, Heathbrow Important, owned by David Sapseed of Hertfordshire, and David Donnelly of Ashbourne in Derbyshire’s cow, Kennox Diva’s Gena.
The champion Dairy pair made it a day of double celebrations for the Saxby family of Bawtry. Their Jersey intermediate cow, Saxown Precision Cash 89, was bred by father Richard Saxby, with daughters Ellie and Hannah and son Tom all involved with the herd.
The family milk around twenty cows which run with the Thurlstone herd of about 250. Tom said. “She is the best and easiest cow we have ever worked with – we have never had one like her.
“We lost a close family friend, Frank Poskitt, in April who has helped us enormously over the years and it was a great tribute to him that we won today.”
Their Blythewood Pair was completed by Thurlstone Topeka Orange, owned by JR and SE Dickinson.
The Dairy Supreme had been won by Saxown Precision Cash 89 earlier in the day, with Reserve going to Dairy Shorthorn intermediate cow, Churchroyd Gentle 105, owned by Mary and Ian Collins of Dewsbury.
Allerton Bywater cheese producers Cryer & Stott took the Supreme Cheese Championship with Ewe Beauty a Pecorino style cheese made from sheep milk. Owners Clare and Richard Holmes, were there to receive the trophy.
Taking the Supreme Champion honours in the dairy section was Longley Farm’s Bio Gooseberry Yogurt. Jimmy Dickinson, managing partner of the Holmfirth-based company, was presented with the award by Steward Henry Chadwick.
An organic dairy farm in Kendal lifted the prestigious Tye Trophy. The Robinson Family have farmed the 300-acre site for five generations with the farm going fully organic in 2006.
They were chosen from six other area winners in the competition which covers the whole of the North of England and recognises conservation and environmental improvements in commercially successful farms.
The winners of the School Vegetable Box Competition were Outwood Primary Academy in Darfield. The newly-formed Gardening Club took the top honours with sister school Outwood Primary Academy Lofthouse Gate taking second place.
The theme of this year’s competition was Field to Fork, with the winning school praised for their knowledge of where their food comes from.
The expertly-managed mixed woodland at West Farm in Sleightholmedale has won the John Boddy Award for Forestry. The woodland, owned by Patrick and Natasha James was originally planted by Mr James’ mother Rosanna and all three judges unanimously decided it was the winner.
Thirteen long-service awards amounting to a combined 550 years were presented to agricultural workers, with one very special award for a man who has notched up sixty-nine years continual service.
The awards are presented each year to employees of Yorkshire Agricultural Society members who have worked for thirty-five years or more continuously for the same family, or on the same farm or estate.
The special award went to eighty-six-year-old Douglas Fairburn, a farm worker from Oswald Potter Farms (Kirklington) Ltd, who has worked continuously for sixty-nine years.
Seven students just beginning to make their mark in agriculture were chosen as cream-of-the-crop from colleges across the region to be honoured at the Show.
The annual Best Agricultural Student Awards were presented to students from seven colleges and universities across the region: Askham Bryan, Bishop Burton, and Craven Colleges, and the Universities of Leeds and Newcastle and, new for this year, East Durham College and Myerscough College.
Leeds soldier Private John Skillings was presented with the YAS Cup for Best Soldier in the Main Ring by head of operations Nigel Morgan. Twenty-year-old Pte Skillings was recognised by his Platoon, 1st Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment for his dedicated and selfless service.
On Tuesday, the first day of the show, the first major livestock championship, the Supreme Beef, was won by a two-year-old Simmental bull, Heathbrow Important, owned by David Sapseed of Hitchin in Hertfordshire, while Reserve went to Lincoln Red bull Foulness Ultra owned by Robert Mawer of Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire. Judge Peter Donger said both animals were lovely examples of their breeds.
Red Shepherdess Hannah Jackson opened the new Gen Z area to promote agricultural careers to teenagers. The addition to the show has been created to showcase the opportunities available in the sector for young people and school-leavers.
A host of well-known faces took to the Kuoni Catwalk in the new-look GYS Fashion Pavilion. Five-time gold medal winning Paralympian, Hannah Cockroft, Red Shepherdess Hannah Jackson, sporting soprano Lizzie Jones, cricketing legend Ryan Sidebottom and the Yorkshire Vet, Peter Wright, received a huge welcome from a packed audience.
Celebrities on the new Kuoni Catwalk at the fashion show, from left, Ryan Sidebottom, Lizzie Jones, Hannah Cockroft, Hannah Jackson and Peter Wright
A group of women from the Sheffield and District African Caribbean Community Association, some from the Windrush generation, were able to reconnect with their farming roots when they visited the show for the first time, meeting exhibitors in the National Longhorn Championship.
The prestigious Doncaster Cup for the best in the Garden Show was won for the second year running by a display of carnivorous plants from Wacks Wicked Plants of Scampston. Garden Show steward Martin Fish said he could not remember the last time the cup had been won in successive years by the same exhibitor. Winner Peter Walker, who is from Harrogate originally, said, “I am absolutely delighted to win again, if somewhat surprised! Reserve went to the Scarborough-based Yorkshire Pelargonium and Geranium Society at their very first Great Yorkshire Show.
New technology was recognised in the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s White Rose What’s Next Award for Innovation which this year went to the JFC Agri Calf Isolation Unit. The unit allows farmers to treat sick calves in isolation and avoid cross contamination.
Presented with the Rosebowl by Jenny Penty, sational sales manager Sue Taylor said they were delighted to have won. “Bringing a bio-security item to market involves lots of research and work. To have that recognised at such a prestigious show as the Great Yorkshire Show is wonderful.”
There was a top award for the man behind one of the region’s most successful farm machinery suppliers. The Yorkshire Agricultural Society and Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) make an award each year to the individual who has made the most outstanding contribution to the Yorkshire rural community and the winner was Geoff Brown, Managing Director of Ripon Farm Services and a Council member of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society.
See the August edition of Dalesman for a five-page Great Yorkshire Show picture special.