IT’S the Little Royal with a big heart!
People from as far and wide as Cyprus and the Netherlands flocked to the Peak District last week for the 181st Bakewell Show.
Organisers laid on a packed programme of attractions at the premier two-day agricultural show, one of the oldest in the country, and were rewarded with scorching sunshine and record-breaking crowds.
And it’s easy to see why the age-old event retains its popularity.
“The programme is so varied,” explained Show Manager Janet Bailey. “It is the wide variety of things to see and do. In particular, we try to provide a lot for the children, because they are the customers of the future.
“There was a record gate on the Wednesday, the best we’ve ever had. I think contributing factors were the lovely weather and the fact we abolished the charge for under-16s. Although the weather on the Thursday wasn’t as kind to us, it didn’t look as though it deterred people.”
What the second day of the show lacked in sunshine it more than made up for in excitement and entertainment, with death-defying displays of chariot racing and the UK’s first horse-drawn hearse championship the highlights of a bumper centre ring programme.
Among the winners in the livestock section was Peter Berresford, of Wheston in Tideswell, who took the Ayrshire championship for a remarkable seventh consecutive year, in addition to the prize for reserve inter-breed dairy champion.
Chief Livestock Steward Charles Mycock, from Flagg, said: “The number of entries was easily up on last year, which we didn’t expect. Several of the judges commented on the overall quality of the stock.”
This year, a trophy was awarded to the inter-breed heifer champion in the memory of Charles’ late father, William, who had been a steward at the show for 63 years and was also show president in 1997.
There was success of the green-fingered kind in the horticulture marquee for Whaley Bridge’s Cedge Heathcote, who repeated his win of 2010 by picking up the best in show award for his colourful dahlias, as well as scooping three first prizes.
And there was double delight in the horticultural trade section for Derbyshire Sweet Peas, landing the large gold medal for a second year.
Dave Torrington, from Litton, a member of the group of retired hobbyists who grow the sweet pea flowers, said: “We’re absolutely over the moon to win this prize in the trade tent, among professional gardeners. It’s a wonderful hobby. We love exhibiting, and over the years we’ve met some lovely people and made many good friends.”
The WI tent was a hive of activity; the theme this year was British Traditions.
Ashford-in-the-Water Women’s Institute scored a first with their patchwork well dressing entry in the craft section – picking up the Novice Cup. Designed by Val Sidery and Caryl Heath, the scaled-down well dressing was produced by a team of ten WI members, reflecting the centre panel of a past tableau.
Hayfield WI picked up third place in the Wye Valley Trophy – where entries combined a mixture of flower arranging, home economics and craft. Branch member Barbara Barlow, an advisor for the Derbyshire Federation of WI, added: “Bakewell Show is our biggest window for the WI. We don’t have many places where we go and promote ourselves on such a scale.”