Harry Potter casts his magic over Northumberland Young Farmers’ Rally

Getting wet in the bolster and bar competition.
Getting wet in the bolster and bar competition.

Hundreds of Young Farmers battled it out in an annual test of rural skills – with a bit of Hogwarts magic thrown in.

The Northumberland Young Farmers’ Rally, hosted by Alnwick Young Farmers’ Club at Hulne Park, had a Harry Potter theme.

So, alongside the competitions for handicrafts, baking, tractor handling and sheep shearing, was quidditch played with fleeces, Hogwarts Got Talent, witches and warlocks-themed floral arrangements and an array of hand-made sorting hats, witches’ cloaks and Hogwarts scarves.

More than 300 competitors, aged between 10 and 26, took part and the ultimate prize, the Northumberland Young Farmers Trophy, went to Whitley Chapel, with the host club runner-up.

Rally committee secretary Jess Straker said: “This was a huge event for the Young Farmers of Alnwick to organise and we are all absolutely delighted with the results and the feedback we have received. Everyone had a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining day with the support of more than 50 voluntary stewards and helpers. Everyone had no hesitation in going the extra mile and excelled themselves, not only doing Alnwick proud but the county as well.

“But for me personally, aside from coming second of course, the highlight was the fact the rally went so well. It was a testament to the skills of Young Farmers across the county and demonstrated that the Young Farmers is an exceptional organisation which thrives on team work.”

The day culminated with the presentation of trophies.

Winners included Angus White, from Whitley Chapel YF, who won the Lister Trophy for the sheep shearing; Stamfordham’s junior tug of war team, who won the Gazette Trophy for the best juniors in the sports competition; and Freaya Marshall, from Alnwick YF, who won the Ponteland Cup for the fashion competition and the Laidler Family Shield for the best club display with a theme of Farming Through Time.

County chairman Adam Grieve said: “This year’s rally was a truly exceptional day. The true effort and skill put in by each and every member was shown across all competitions. The rally was, without a doubt, a day of competitive spirit at its very best.”

The rally marked the completion of a 170-mile walk round all 10 YF clubs in the county by Northumberland Young Farmers’ president Stuart Murray, to raise more than £4,000 for the Great North Air Ambulance Service and Papyrus, a national charity for the prevention of young suicide.

The rally would not have been possible without the support and sponsorship of many local individual and organisations, such as Rix Petroleum, which sponsored the production of the programmes; Youngs RPS, which sponsored the stage; Sheriffs for providing the tractors for the tractor handling; and KW Purvis for the digger.