Rural lessons delivered with fun at Harrogate showcase

Jack Thompson, 10, with his pair of Suffolk Cross Beltex which won native champion at Countryside Live held at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate. Picture: Tony Johnson
Jack Thompson, 10, with his pair of Suffolk Cross Beltex which won native champion at Countryside Live held at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate. Picture: Tony Johnson
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IN the midst of a showground partly under construction the organisers of Countryside Live had a reshuffle of exhibit space to overcome to build on the success of previous instalments of the Great Yorkshire Show’s little sister in Harrogate.

A new temporary structure was erected outside the remaining exhibition hall to showcase horticulture exhibits and the Create and Explore area, among other attractions at this weekend’s event, and the beef cattle were hosted in the cattle sheds usually reserved for the Great Yorkshire.

Signs of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s £10m investment at its Harrogate showground were plain to see with the metal frame of a new exhibition hall extending skywards. The new building, which adds extra space at the venue, is on schedule to open next spring in time for the 2016 show season.

There was some drizzle to cope with too yesterday but YAS chief executive Nigel Pulling declared the 13th agricultural showpiece a success with visitor numbers holding their own at 12,101 over the two days.

Mr Pulling said: “It’s a delight this show. We’ve had to do things in a slightly different format this year because of the changes going on here but all the comments we’ve had suggest that they have been well received.”

North Yorkshire farmer Charles Mills, overseeing his first event as YAS show director, said: “Our aim is to inspire people about agriculture and the rural economy, whether it’s through seeing the first class animals, the excellent trade stands, or the demonstrations and attractions, and I certainly think we have achieved that.”

One attraction that stole plenty of attention was Bjorn the Polar Bear and his educational performances about the Arctic species alongside narrator ‘Ursula the Conservationist’.

Leyburn teenager Luke Wilkinson’s home-bred British Blue was named Yorkshire Bred, Owned and Shown champion in the beef cattle rings, while Tabby Bentley, 20, of Ripley, won the Search for a Talented Showjumper judged by former Olympians Tina and Graham Fletcher.

Horticulturists showed off their giant produce and there were birds of prey demonstrations courtesy of Ben Potter.

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