Nantwich Show 2009
PUBLISHED: 21:30 01 December 2009 | UPDATED: 16:14 20 February 2013
A bit of rain doesn't scare Cheshire folk. Thousands of you turned out for the Nantwich Show, despite the inhospitable weather
When the heavens opened just a few days before the Nantwich Show, you could understand why there were a few nervous twitches in the organisers' camp. In 2007 the plug was pulled on the UK's largest one day show because of the unseasonable wet weather.
But this year, with a forgiving dry spell and a huge sigh of relief, the 113th Nantwich Show opened its doors. The rain may have returned on the day, in buckets at some points, but it did not dampen the spirits of more than 20,000 people who poured into Dorfold Park, Nantwich, armed with wellies, waterproofs and umbrellas.
The agricultural show has carved out a reputation as one of the best in the country. A record number of exhibitors turned out with hopes of winning rosettes and awards. There were fantastic displays of all kinds including equestrian, birds of prey and hounds and of course the Grand Parade.
For George Lawrence, joint show secretary of the show with son Adrian, it was a fantastic occasion and his 23rd year in post. He said: 'We have had a fantastic show for the cattle and sheep and the standards have been very high. We're delighted with how everything went this year and plans have already begun for next year's show.'
The show has been a labour of love for George, an MBE recipient for his services to agriculture and young people. He first started going to the show in 1948 when it moved to the current site in Dorfold Park.
'The Nantwich Show is a major part of the agricultural calendar. We are in the heart of an agricultural area so we are an important event. The show has changed over the years and it has become more and more packed.
'We have more cattle, more horses and more sheep and standards have continued to go up and up. It is quite an event for Cheshire.'
The spectacle included everything from Shire horse displays to camel racing, not surprisingly, a popular attraction.
In the Cheshire East Pavilion no doubt there were plenty of allotment holders who turned green with envy when they clapped eyes on the mammoth cabbages, rosy red tomatoes and the rather unusual category of the heaviest potato.
In the same tent there were successes for a number of food and craftspeople, including for Steve Guest, who won a trophy for his Cheshire honey. There were also celebrations for Heather Woodward, section secretary for the Home Produce, Arts and Crafts section, who said entry standards were unrivalled.
Heather's commitment - she has been involved with the show for 21 years - runs in the family. Her daughters Karan Stockton and Clare Whittaker and granddaughters Rebecca and Rachel all help out. Some years they have entered anonymously and taken home top prizes.
But when it comes to food, nothing beats the cheese tent. Producers from around the country, and reassuringly, a very strong showing from Cheshire, all attended with the hope of getting the coveted Supreme Champion Award.
There was a new look for the Nantwich International Cheese Show, now rebranded the International Cheese Awards. It was a blue stilton from Nottingham which took the Supreme Champion Award but many Cheshire producers were recognised with prizes.
Coronation Street star-turned-cheesemaker Sean Wilson, who played Martin Platt in the popular soap, also joined television chef Matt Tebbutt to put together some tasty cheese dishes.
Sean said: 'I love talking about and making cheese, and the awards are a fantastic showcase for the skills of independent cheese makers. There were some outstanding cheeses in both categories. I'm keen to promote the benefits of buying high quality cheese to the wider public, and to help our skilled cheese makers get the recognition they deserve.'