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A damp but positive start to this year's Great Yorkshire Show

Helen Skelton with goats

​​​​​​​Bees, fashion, gardens and a triumphant return for the popular People’s Choice classes were among the highlights when the sell-out Great Yorkshire Show opened to visitors today.

The first competitive trophy of the Show, the Doncaster Cup for the best exhibit in the Garden Show went to Terry Marran of Primrose Bank, Kexby, York. Terry said he had been exhibiting at the show for 35 years and this was the first time he had won the Doncaster Cup for the best exhibit in the Garden Show, although he had previously won awards at Chelsea and many of the RHS Show. “Having never won here, at my local show, it is amazing to win now,” he said. The President’s Choice Award, chosen by YAS President Martin Cockerill, went to Mark Padgett of Skerne Alpines in Driffield.

Television presenter Helen Skelton was new to the Vertu Motors GYS Stage, where she chatted with host Christine Talbot, as well as visiting the Goat section to meet exhibitors and learning about cheese tasting and judging at the Cheese and Dairy Show.

Farming influencer and arable farmer Olly Harrison was among the panel members for a Rural Policy Group Debate: Farmers were encouraged to have their say on shaping the future of farming, including supply chain fairness, food security planning, governmental approaches to policy, taxation and funding, agritech innovation, labour shortages, and food pricing.

Olly also took to the Farm to Fashion catwalk, modelling the new YAS Tweed.  The show reflects the sheep to clothing journey, promoting British wool.

There was a triumphant return for the popular People’s Choice classes, with pigs taking centre stage on the first day to be judged by volunteers from the audience around the pig rings, with expert advice from the stewards. The class was won by Alyssia Horsley’s Berkshire sow Acaster Stonebow, known as Penny. The family are now on to the fifth generation exhibiting at Show and have 13 rare breed pigs to exhibit in coming days.

One of the many volunteer judges was Cath Taggart from Doncaster, who said: “It was a fantastic experience for a novice judge and I would encourage everyone to have a go. It was such good fun and you learn so much about the different breeds with the help of the stewards.”

The People’s Choice classes continue tomorrow in the goat classes and on Friday in the cattle rings.

A world-first cattle safety solution was named the overall winner of the Innovation Awards.

The Agri-Stride Vario dual-span diagonal slats from Wolfenden Concrete won the Engineering Award before being named overall winner, with judges praising the depth and breadth of innovation required to develop the solution which helps protect cattle from slips and falls.

The Digital Award went to Vet DX, an innovative cloud-based system that removes paperwork from livestock tests for vets and laboratories while the Agritech Start-Up Award went to Wormganix, the only company in the UK breeding worms to develop valuable fertilisers for the horticulture sector. The Process and Management Award went to Puffin Packaging for its wool-based packaging solutions that act as an alternative to polystyrene.

A man who worked hard to establish recognition for RABI, the leading UK farming charity, in East Yorkshire was presented with a top award by Yorkshire Agricultural Society.

The 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 this year’s went to William Lamb, a founder member of the East Yorkshire RABI committee, working on his own for some years to establish RABI recognition in the county.

Willie was on the RABI committee for more than 30 years, was an absolute integral part of its work and is still a huge supporter.

The efforts of 16 volunteers were also recognised with the presentation of the YAS Awards. Those recognised included Michael Warren who has been a cattle steward since 1958, a grand total of 66 years!

Two Rowan trees were planted near the Hives and Honey area to commemorate the British Beekeeping Association 150th Anniversary this year. A total of 74 beekeeping associations within the British umbrella have been asked to plant trees to make the anniversary to provide bee food for the future. British Beekeeping Association chair Diane Drinkwater said: “Bees are so important in providing the wide range of food we have and their pollination gives us improved crops, from oil seed rape to all the orchard fruits.”

The beekeeping associations at the show have also been raising awareness of the threat to bees from Asian hornets. The insects feed on native bees and wasps, damaging biodiversity and sightings can be reported on the Asian hornet app,

The Best Agricultural Trade stand Award went to Carr Billington Agriculture Ltd which provides market leading agricultural products and machinery across the north of England and south west Scotland.

Charles Mills, Show Director, said: “Despite a damp start to the Show, visitors were out in force and we have enjoyed a great day which showcased how British agriculture strives to thrive whatever the weather! We are looking forward to a better forecast for the week and to the world class competitions and stories of success to come.”

Tickets for the Show are completely sold out.

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