Day will focus on 125 years of food and farms

Ford pupils Emilia and Ashton at Children's Countryside Day.
Ford pupils Emilia and Ashton at Children's Countryside Day.

Children’s Countryside Day, which takes place next week, will this year focus on 125 years of food and farming.

This is because organisers, the Glendale Agricultural Society (GAS), is celebrating its 125th anniversary.

About 1,550 youngsters, from 37 schools across the region, will visit the Glendale Showground next Thursday to learn about all aspects of food, farming and the countryside through fun and interactive methods.

To mark the society’s major milestone, many of the exhibitors will be reminiscing and highlighting the changes to farming and farming practices during the last 125 years.

So, children attending will find out that farm machinery did not really exist, shepherds shepherded their sheep with horses not quad bikes, milked cows by hands not with robots and worked the land by hand and horses.

The GAS has been a key part of farming life in the Glendale area since its inception in 1892. During this time, it has provided local farmers and the wider agricultural community with a platform for sharing ideas, as well as much-needed social outings.

In more recent times, it has developed its education programme to highlight the importance of farming and the countryside to the next generation, with the Children’s Countryside Day education initiative launched 13 years ago.

Philippa Shell, organiser of the Children’s Countryside Day, said: “All the children attending the event this year will get a really good snapshot of life back in 1892 and the years that followed, up until the present day.

“This is with thanks to all our exhibitors who have really got on board with this year’s celebratory theme. Looking back in history will be coupled with this year’s competition for the schools.”

Each school has been invited to submit a flag design celebrating and showing 125 years of food and farming. All flags will be displayed on the day around the main ring, with the winner being presented with a luxury hamper, donated by Berwick Garden Centre.

Local sponsor and exhibitor Silvery Tweed Cereals will be taking a look back 125 years at their business and showing the children what life and business were like all that time ago.

Michael Mole, from Silvery Tweed Cereals, said: “This is an inspirational event to which we are proud to pledge our support.

“Education of the next generation is key to the continued success of the UK’s agricultural industry and, as a company, we have always placed great emphasis on this, especially when it is within our local community.”

Ford and Etal Estates will have an exhibition of the Bondagers Movement, which was a typical part of life 125 years ago. It will be looking at the history as each farm labourer needed to have a bondager (a female worker) to help on the farm.

On display on the day by committee members will be 125 years of the plough, from horse-drawn to mega modern-day ploughs and everything in between.

Another stand-out moment of the day will be the unveiling of Northumberland County Council’s new bin wagon and the announcement of the winning entrant. The winning design will be blown up and will take pride of place on the new wagon, which will be available to view on the day. The winning entrant will be given their own bespoke Playmobile recycling truck with their name on the panel.

Key sponsor Northumberland National Park will once again be providing backpacks for each child to take home. Other sponsors include Silvery Tweed Cereals, Young RPS, The Carr-Ellison Charitable Trust, The Joicey Trust, Aviva Community Fund, The Sir James Knott Trust, Lord and Lady Joicey and Barclays Bank.

Philippa said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of our sponsors. It is their ongoing support, in addition to the support of our many volunteers, that means each year the event goes from strength to strength. We have now helped to educate 17,000 North East schoolchildren over the years, targeting the next generation so that they are not disassociated from where their food comes from.”