A fitting way to celebrate 150th show

Steven Mackay won numerous trophies at the show. Here he is presented with the Tom Mackay Rose Bowl Overall Champion trophy, which is named after his father. The cup was presented by Andrew Walton. Picture by Mary Scott.
Steven Mackay won numerous trophies at the show. Here he is presented with the Tom Mackay Rose Bowl Overall Champion trophy, which is named after his father. The cup was presented by Andrew Walton. Picture by Mary Scott.

More than 5,000 people flocked to the 150th Alwinton Show on Saturday, to help mark the special birthday milestone in style.

An array of festivities celebrated the anniversary, including a heritage tent, packed with past show memories, curios and present day valley happenings.

Wrestler Thomas Brocklebank, who won the All Weights Championship. Picture by Mary Scott.

Wrestler Thomas Brocklebank, who won the All Weights Championship. Picture by Mary Scott.

The Coquet Lass – a restored steam road roller which was used for many years up and down the Coquet Valley – was on display and proved to be a popular attraction.

A poem, written by Rothbury man James Tait, to honour the 150th show was played at the start of the event.

Fittingly, the sheep show was the largest for several years, with more than 360 entries, while the show tent featured an impressive number of high-class exhibits.

In addition, the programme was packed with a feast of other entertainment, including terrier racing, dog shows, fell races, the Rothbury Highland Pipe Band and Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling, among other things. Even the weather was kind!

Action from the wrestling. Picture by Mary Scott.

Action from the wrestling. Picture by Mary Scott.

In a poignant start to the proceedings, president Peter Stott officially opened the 150th show with a heartfelt speech.

He said: “The show began in a very modest way. Local shepherds wanted to see who had the best sheep in their hill farms in these valleys.

“Today, the sheep are still a very important part of the show, but now there are numerous other attractions to suit everyone.

“We have traditional competitions like the sheepdog trials, wrestling, the fell race and the industrial tent.

Coquet Lass with owners David and Pam Walker. Picture by Mary Scott.

Coquet Lass with owners David and Pam Walker. Picture by Mary Scott.

“There is also a superb craft tent, Rothbury Highland Pipe Band has entertained us for generations and more recently we have introduced the dog shows and the hugely popular terrier racing.

“Working in these hills and valleys can be a solitary and often lonely life and the show has always been a great place for meeting old friends and making new ones. Many a romance has begun at Alwinton – it could be regarded as the first dating agency in the north!”

The 150th show was the last for Jimmy Hall in his role as chairman. Also stepping down was vice-chairman Tommy Henderson, his wife Janice as trand-stand secretary and Mr Hall’s wife Jan as sheep secretary.

Tony Dixon has been named as the new chairman, while Tom Burston has been appointed vice-chairman. Field secretaries are yet to be decided, but Karen Wood has taken on the sheep secretary role.

James Smith won the Ord Memorial Challenge Cup. Picture by Mary Scott.

James Smith won the Ord Memorial Challenge Cup. Picture by Mary Scott.

Mr Hall said: “The committee and I were honoured to be serving at the 150th Alwinton Show; a momentous occasion. I would like to thank the whole committee and any other helpers who have helped me fulfil my role and I hope everyone gives our new officials the support I have had. I wish Alwinton Show the very best for the future.

“My proudest moment was the building of the new show hut – the commitment of everyone involved was quite exceptional.

“The show and its future is very dependant on sponsors and I would like to thank everyone who has given us sponsorship this year and in the past, and hopefully the future.

“With this in mind, I must mention some major sponsors this year – Greaves; West and Ayre; Randall Park Foods; and Egger. Thank you very much.”

The George Strachan Challenge Cup was won by Andrew, Julie and Matthew Fife. Andrew and Matthew are pictured, presented with the cup by Mr Strachan himself, aged 95. Picture by Mary Scott.

The George Strachan Challenge Cup was won by Andrew, Julie and Matthew Fife. Andrew and Matthew are pictured, presented with the cup by Mr Strachan himself, aged 95. Picture by Mary Scott.

The Rothbury Highland Pipe Band. Picture by Mary Scott.

The Rothbury Highland Pipe Band. Picture by Mary Scott.

The terrier racing. Picture by Mary Scott.

The terrier racing. Picture by Mary Scott.

Starting young. James Robson, three, and Brooke Robson, six, did well with their exhibits in the show tent. Picture by Mary Scott.

Starting young. James Robson, three, and Brooke Robson, six, did well with their exhibits in the show tent. Picture by Mary Scott.

Sheep judging. Picture by Mary Scott.

Sheep judging. Picture by Mary Scott.