Village Focus: The secret of Weeton’s unity

Weeton Show has been drawing the community together for more than 70 years. Picture: Adrian Murray.
Weeton Show has been drawing the community together for more than 70 years. Picture: Adrian Murray.
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Among the rolling Wharfedale farmland that spreads out down valley from the foot of Almscliffe Crag are several villages all located in the kind of countryside that is as popular as a tramping route for walkers as it is a haven for wildlife.

Despite the urban fringes of nearby Harrogate and Otley being none too far away in either direction, this green belt is still an agricultural hotspot and also home to a wider, diverse community that is typified in the village of Weeton.

Its public facing side, if you like, is the edge of the village which runs along the busy Harrogate Road, parallel to the Harrogate to Leeds train line on which Weeton retains its own stop.

Such a location makes the village popular with commuters wanting to live out-of-town but this mixed community, which is also made up of farming families who have lived here for generations, is in a state of near-perfect harmony come show time.

For more than 70 years Weeton Show has been drawing the community together, and from beyond its borders, from its neighbours such as North Rigton, Dunkeswick and Leathley.

Weeton and District Agricultural and Horticultural Society, better known as Weeton Show, was established immediately after the Second World War. An extract from an early society membership card reads: “Objects of the society: To encourage the efficient cultivation of the soil by farmers, gardeners and all flower lovers; to organize an annual competition and the award of prizes for the exhibition of farm crops, garden flowers, vegetables, cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry, domestic crafts, pets, etc.; and to hold an annual Show of Exhibits for providing a social event for all interested residents and visitors.”

Show organisers have been striving to achieve largely these same aims ever since.

Livery yard owner, Paula Ware, the show’s vice chairman and partner of North Rigton farmer David, has been on of up to 150 volunteers who has helped stage the event over the last decade. She has no doubts as to its benefits, despite the hard work involved in making the show happen.

“It’s very much a community day where everyone meets up and has a natter and if it’s nice weather, people picnic round the show arena,” she said.

“I think the show is vital. It’s part of what makes the community. It’s a focal event. A lot of different people live in the village and it’s a chance for people to actually meet each other and come together. Otherwise, people wouldn’t normally mix.”

There may be hot competition to attract visitors from far and wide to outdoor events this summer but Weeton goes to show how important these get-togethers are for those who live just down the road.

FACTS

Weeton Show will be held on Sunday, July 30.

It costs £22,500 to stage the annual event and it attracts around 3,000 visitors.

Last year’s show raised £5,000 for St Michael’s Hospice in Harrogate and this time funds will be raised for Horticap.

Daleside Brewery makes a special beer for the show called ‘Weeton Wiggle’ - 1,200 pints of it are expected to be consumed.