Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The County Show at Corbridge

Bank Holiday Monday was one of the best days I have ever had as an MP. I was a Judge in 3 sections of the show [Sadly not the amazing livestock seen above] but this gave me a great opportunity to get up close and personal with hundreds of people, who had made a tremendous effort to participate or sell their goods at the Show. People came from far and wide - with plenty from out of County [I met 2 groups from Redcar, and many from Yorkshire, for example] and lots from over the border.
My morning was spent judging the Indoor and Craft Tents, where hundreds of people battled to sell their wares to the 25,000+ people who were attending. For me, what was particularly interesting was to see so many thriving little cottage businesses, or locals with weekend jobs selling their wares on the side.
My job was to judge the quality of the stand, the product being sold and the display, along with the attitude and enthusiasm of those selling their product. There were special commendations for very few - but I was particuarly impressed with 2 local businesses
- Jamie at Home, run by 2 charming women from Corbridge and Hexham, who seemed to be perpetually smiling and had a great stand and
- Aprons Etc - the husband and wife team from nearby Ingoe selling interesting and fun home products with a flair, a smile and a twist.
The two amazing local photographers Will Nichols and Calcara Crafts impressed, as did the wonderful Claire Myers' beautiful drawings / cards - and special mention has to go out to both Will and Claire's respective Mums, who were there on the stands helping out and lending moral support.
Of the Craft Stands I gave first prize overall for the outstanding work of David Lawson Ceramics - see his work at: http://www.davidlawsonceramics.com/
David works locally in Hexham, and his hand thrown stoneware and kitchenware were beautiful to look at and very well presented.

Howey Nichols, from County Durham, came second overall - with a real stand out stand. They sold their mens gifts products really well, with a ready smile and easy manner.
Other notable entrants were Nikki and Michelle's beautiful Butterfly Barn, and the enthusiasm of Treasure Trails Northumbria = a great idea for a business, really well sold, with total commitment.

After three hours in the tents it was off to see the animals, and then down to the equine ring to judge the Light Horse Championship. Sadly I did not get to ride the winners! I was very impressed by Jade Thompsons 2 winning ponies but one horse stood out - Sir William John, ridden by Melissa. She was a worthy winner and champion of champions.

After 8 hours I should have gone to the Hexham Beacon celebrations but exhaustion took the better of me, and I settled for popping in to the Rat Inn at Anick for a pint on the way home.
Huge congratulations to everyone responsible for the show - from my point of view I thought it ran like clockwork.