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High Profile visitors and award-winning excellence at Great Yorkshire Show

The Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell at the Great Yorkshire Show

The Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell and Lord-Lieutenant of North Yorkshire Jo Ropner toured the Show, in what was the Archbishop’s first ever visit.

New Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Steve Reed OBE MP and Farming Minister Daniel Zeichner made their first visit as part of the new Government after last week’s election.

Adam Henson took to the cattle rings before heading for the chat show on the Vertu Motors GYS Stage and seeing the sheepdog trials, while Kelvin Fletcher and wife Liz also made an appearance as well as farming influencer Joe Seels.

A YAS Award was presented to Michael Warren who’s been stewarding at the Great Yorkshire Show for an incredible 66 years.

The School Veg Box competition, which annually challenges primary schools across Yorkshire to grow British produce from scratch, was won by White Laith Primary School of Whinmoor, Leeds, with its bright colourful designs and rain harvesting systems for this year’s Bee theme.

Top pigeon at the Show, the Supreme Pigeon, went to Richard Henderson from Malton with a three-year-old black Nun cock bird. Richard has been showing at the Great Yorkshire Show since 1980 but this is the first time he has won Supreme Champion. He said: “I’m over the moon. As far as agricultural shows go, the Great Yorkshire Show is the pinnacle. A couple of times I’ve had the equivalent of third but never Supreme Champion. It has taken 44 years to do that. I’m absolutely over the moon.”

The Cheese and Dairy section highlighted the importance of quality food when it showcased the best of British produce. The Supreme Champion Cheese title went to Shepherds Purse for its Organic Yorkshire Blue. Katie Matten, who owns the business with sister Caroline Bell, said: “Amazing. I can’t quite believe it, especially as it is a cheese we only launched this year. It has been received so well and is selling so well. This is the icing on the cake and will help raise even more awareness.” The Supreme Champion Dairy title went to Ryeburn of Helmsley for its Mango Ripple ice-cream.

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 Simon and Claire Bainbridge of Bainbridge Farms, Donkin Ridge, Cambo, Morpeth, who received the award from Yorkshire Agricultural Society President, Martin Cockerill.

Simon said: “I just can’t believe we have won – I am literally gobsmacked. For all farmers across the north it has been a miserable eight or nine months with the weather but there were some amazing farmers there and we are very honoured to have won this special award.”

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 examples of woodland management in Yorkshire. The Award is organised and judged by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, Royal Forestry Society and Forestry Commission and the 2024 title was won by the 4,000-acre Harewood Estate between Leeds and Harrogate, managed by Ben Lascelles.

Ben said: “We were hopeful of winning but were delighted when we actually did.

“Any recognition of the work you do from the sector you are in is an honour and privilege.”

Sheep shearing champions were also crowned today after a packed stage programme with competitors from all over the world.

The Royal Yorkshire Regiment’s Best Soldier of 2023 was also recognised. This year’s honours went to 38-year-old LCpl Kopamees from Hull, who rejoined the Army Reserve in 2016 and was deployed to Afghanistan.

On return to the UK, LCpl Kopamees returned to full time regular service, transferring from 2 YORKS to 1 YORKS and being promoted to Lance Corporal.

Charles Mills, Show Director, said: “It was a pleasure to host the Archbishop who made his first visit today – hopefully the first of many!

“We were also delighted to host the new Secretary of State, Steve Reed OBE MP and Farming Minister Daniel Zeichner who could connect with farmers and farming bodies like the NFU, CLA, RABI and our Future Farmers to start the conversation about the future of farming.

“Today has also underlined how the many issues being tackled in the rural sector are being handled in some very creative ways, from conservation and sustainability to food production and education.”

The annual Future Farmers of Yorkshire breakfast event saw a panel of experts discuss whether farmers were in a position to deliver more than food, in a way that pays and meets the needs for society. They agreed that UK farmers were in a unique position to deliver a broad range of eco-system benefits while still producing high quality, nutritious food for the public.

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