An annual day in rural north Northumberland, which aims to educate schoolchildren about the importance of farming and the countryside in their everyday lives, took place yesterday.
The award-winning Children’s Countryside Day (CCD), organised by the Glendale Agricultural Society, opened its gates to more than 1,500 school children from 40 schools across Northumberland and North Tyneside.
This year in visiting the 65 exhibits, pupils experienced first-hand how farming practices have developed over the years and how women in agriculture have been the cornerstone of the farming industry in Northumberland.
Through a range of demonstrations, exhibitors at the event gave the children an insight into a variety of rural practices, which included changes to breakfast cereals, packaging and branding; a mini farm to show the historic values of farms and machinery compared to modern values; and how fishing practices have developed through the years.
This year also saw the introduction of an equine area, a first for the event, which was certainly a big hit with the children.
Exhibits from BEDMAX Shavings and Kelso Races, alongside Marshall Meadows Shire Horses and farriery and equine-dentistry demonstrations proved extremely popular.
Chairman of the Children’s Countryside Day, Andrew Reed, said: “We enjoyed the most tremendous weather, received tremendous support and, from the feedback we have received, the children have learned a tremendous amount.
“The key objective of the CCD is to build foundation stones to encourage children’s interest in the countryside and to learn from real farmers one of the fundamentals of life, which is where their food comes from.
“The feedback from many of the teachers is that the event has been truly inspirational, engaging and educational for so many of the children.
“For all of us who work on the Countryside Day, we feel it is a way of giving something back and helping to educate and encourage a lifelong interest in farming and the countryside.”
First launched 12 years ago, to date, the CCD has educated more than 18,500 North-East schoolchildren aged from five to nine.
Philippa Shell organises the day with a committee and team of dedicated volunteers.
“This year we wanted the children to explore how rural practices have developed through the years,” she said.
“Tying in with the theme of this year’s annual Glendale Show, the year of the lady, we took the opportunity to celebrate women in agriculture at this year’s Children’s Countryside Day.
“We took the children right back to rural life before the war and looked at how not only machinery has progressed, but how crop production and livestock production has developed to suffice a growing population. The children discovered how women in farming are pioneers and how they continue to play an invaluable role in the industry.”
Prior to the day, the children had been asked to design a shopping bag, showing historic farming on one side and modern-day farming on the other. Their designs were judges by Stewart and Sarah Nelson. First place was awarded to Scremerston First School, second place went to Hugh Joicey CE Aided First School in Ford and third place to Kenton Bar Primary School.