Last weekend, I attended the 132nd Oswestry Show at the Park Hall Showground. With attendance estimated at 15,000 the Show is a great exhibition of North Shropshire’s agricultural industry and farming community.
It has an extremely long and successful history, having held its first Show on 3rd October 1862; it continues to grow from strength to strength.
The Oswestry Show exists today, in part, due to one of my predecessors John Ralph Ormsby Gore of Brogyntyn, the Conservative Member of Parliament for North Shropshire from 1859 to 1876.
After having founded the Oswestry and District Agricultural Society, he and sixty farmers held their first meetings at the Wynnstay Hotel. The Society’s objectives included the production of better quality food, greater quantities of food and improvement of the conditions of the farm labourer. Hosting a local annual show would enable farmers and landowners to examine new farm machinery in addition to encouraging them to consider different breeds of stock and new varieties of produce.
True to these noble and original objectives, this year there was another fine selection of high quality stock, cattle, large numbers of sheep and rare breeds.
There was a strong horse section with a wide variety of horses being shown and being judged as part of a packed programme. The Society has attracted this year’s Scope Festival UK Supreme Championship show jumping competition from Staffordshire Showground. This could be the start of something big for the future; the venue would be ideal for future national equine events.
The Show succeeds because it has something for everyone, as lots of attendees come from Oswestry town. Visitors enjoyed browsing the many trade stands, eating in the food hall and trying something new in the craft marquee. The Show hosts competitions and there are plenty of things to entertain families with children. There was a jousting tournament and gardeners were also catered for.
There were almost too many stands to count, with local businesses, charities, vets and sports teams represented. I was tasked with judging the Non Agricultural Trade Stand. Judging was extremely difficult with such tremendous competition and effort by the contributors; I awarded it to Stans Superstore in St. Martins, who are celebrating their 70th year.
The Show was such a success thanks to the huge amount of effort put in by volunteers who year after year work tirelessly to build on the success of the previous year. My thanks go to this year’s President Steve Mosford and his wife Jane and the whole team. Even the rain did little to deter those coming from across the county and across the Welsh border to enjoy a day with their family.
John Ormsby Gore said from the outset that he hoped that the Oswestry District Agricultural Society would last for many years. I look forward to the Show continuing to deliver his admirable ambition and to continue to go from strength to strength.