Organisers of one of Northumberland’s oldest agricultural shows have a new roof over their heads after torrential rain forced this year’s event to be cancelled.
The Alwinton Border Shepherds’ Show failed to take place on October 13, when a waterlogged site caused what is thought to be its first cancellation due to bad weather in more than 150 years.
But the organising committee of what is traditionally the county’s last agricultural show of the season, have something to celebrate, with the official opening of a purpose-built show hut and they are already making plans to return in style next year.
The show hut is a little piece of local history. Originally, it used an old ‘range hut’ that had provided sanctuary and shelter for shepherds and their families during live-firing exercises on Otterburn Ranges.
In 1952, the show committee purchased the hut from the War Office for the princely sum of £80 and it was moved onto the Heugh at Alwinton so that the show secretary could make use of it.
Sixty years later, the committee have worked closely with chipboard manufacturer Egger UK and Northumberland National Park Authority to replace the hut with the new purpose-built structure.
To construct the hut, a partnership approach was used.
The Forestry Commission North England donated standing timber to Egger Forestr,y which harvested and delivered it to AJ Scott of Wooperton.
They, in turn, cut and treated the timber which has been used to clad the exterior of the hut. Egger also provided the chipboard for the interior walls.
During the building work, Egger’s sister company Timberpak removed the old wooden hut and will recycle the material to be used at Egger’s factory in Hexham in the production of new wood-based panels.
Financial support of nearly £5,000 was also received from Northumberland National Park’s Sustainable Development Fund (SDF), which enables local communities to develop and deliver projects that celebrate the special qualities of the National Park and their own area.
“After several months of dismantling and rebuilding, I am very proud of what has been achieved,” said Alwinton Border Shepherd’s Show chairman Jimmy Hall.
“This has only happened because of the support from Egger and the National Park, as well as our fantastic committee members and other helpers.”
John Paterson, of Egger Forestry Products, said: “Alwinton Show stands unrivalled as a place for locals and visitors alike to come together and learn about life in the Cheviot Hills.”
Derek Proudlock, from the Northumberland National Park Authority, added: “The show is an integral part of valley life and we were delighted to be able to offer financial support through SDF to enable the rebuild of the show hut.”