Emley Show 2014: Thousands defy weather forecasts to flock to huge event

"Fair weather or foul they support us," says show secretary Sue Britton

 

“Fair weather or foul, they support us.”

The words of Emley Show secretary Sue Britton as the crowds flocked to yet another successful event in the shadow of the towering TV mast.

It was thought gloomy weather forecasts, including an alert from the Met Office, may have put off some people but that was not the case.

Several thousands turned up and although there were a couple of heavy downpours during the day, many stayed for hours.

Show officials were also delighted with the success of their “kids for free” experiment.

For the first time they allowed children under 16 into the show for free and it was a move that certainly paid off with large numbers of families among those attending.

Mrs Britton said: “We obviously don’t have attendance figures just yet but it certainly compares well to other years when we have averaged between 10,000 and 12,000.

“There has been a really good response from people who chose to come here early despite the forecasts and it’s great to see the marquees and exhibition tents so busy.

 

“We try to make it a traditional country show with a lot for the family. We want to involve the children and if they’re happy, the grown-ups are happy.”

Money raised by the show is used to fund studies by local young people on agricultural, horticultural and veterinary courses.

A big attraction as always were the traditional livestock classes and most reported a high number of entries.

Ricki Hampshire, secretary of the sheep section, said: “We have had a great response with about 170 entries from all over the country, including a good number of rare breeds.

“The visitors love it as they can get so close to the sheep and they show a keen interest.”

Emley Show. Grace Colwill, 5, makes friends in the goat tent.
Emley Show. Grace Colwill, 5, makes friends in the goat tent.
 

It was a similar story in the poultry section where Hayley Chadwick had taken on the section secretary’s job, after working for years at Honley and Penistone shows.

“I have been showing since I was 13 and my kids have gone on to show, so it’s something I’m used to,” she said.

“People have been fascinated by the champion row, with all the winners there for them to see, and we have had a very high standard.”

On a much smaller scale, there was a real buzz in the tent housing the display by the Wakefield and Pontefract Beekeepers Association.

Children were fascinated by the cutaway of a real hive with hundreds of bees surrounding the queen.

Beekeeper Jim Pearson said: “There is a lot of interest but people see it on TV and think there is nothing to it.

“You have to look after your bees and look after their health, and it is a lot of work.”

Across the vast showground there were hundreds of classes under way, from showjumping and dressage to a fun dog show, floral art and a drystone walling contest.

The thousands of animals and birds on show ranged from beautifully-impressive Shire horses and giant bulls standing well over 6ft tall to tiny balls of fluff in the hamster section.

The trade stands and displays were also a big hit, with the safety message to the fore.

Staff from the Yorkshire Ambulance Service offered visitors the chance to test out their resuscitation skills on dummies, while firefighters from the Skelmanthorpe station let kids scramble all over their fire engine.

Firefighter Chris Oxley said: “It’s a great way of telling people about fire safety and the need for smoke alarms and fire drills.

“A lot of our time now is spent on the preventative side and shows like this are a great way of getting the message across.”

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