Catherine Park Peyton grew up at Little Ribston where her father farmed.
Catherine classes herself as a country girl at heart and said she had jumped at the opportunity to be involved with Aldborough & Boroughbridge Show, that takes place on Sunday July 24, 17 years ago when she applied for the advertised role of honorary secretary.
“I was living in Harrogate at the time. When I saw the advertisement I just thought it was right up my alley. I had the agricultural background, I had my secretarial qualifications and I’d always loved being involved in events, running a highly successful charity ball for 10 years.”
Having subsequently become vice chairman in 2012 and chairman from 2014, Catherine has been present during quite possibly one of the most demanding times in Aldborough & Boroughbridge Show’s 107-year history.
Catherine said that the show having had three different venues since she started, suffering a washout one year and two years of show cancellations due to the pandemic, had not dulled the enthusiasm among her committee but had rather brought them all closer together.
“Everyone connected with the show is passionate about agriculture, putting on a great show, educating the public about farming in any way we can and maintaining our traditions.
“My firm belief is that we are all custodians at this moment and that we must do our best to continue putting on a show that reflects everything about today’s and yesterday’s farming while also looking to the future.
“We emphasise that each show section does something whereby the public can ask questions. It’s about making farming more accessible to everyone and we have a fabulous committee of the young and not-so-young.
“Our sheep section is run by Emma Chester and Linda Alderson who are a real show force to be reckoned with, as well as having their great team of volunteers. They have grown the section enormously and are doing so again this year with the introduction of even more new classes.
“Emma and Linda encourage the young handlers, they also have exhibitors who now come from up to 150 miles away just to show at our somewhat smaller show than the one down the road in Harrogate. They truly have an absolute passion for sheep. We have a fleece section too and spinners are on hand next to the sheep showing how wool can be spun.”
Catherine said that the show is continually evolving and personnel changes on the committee have brought about new blood.
“Boroughbridge YFC secretary Lizzie Elgey has come on board as show secretary and it is a brilliant amalgamation.
“It is how our committee runs, by joining forces with others. Lizzie’s father John Elgey has been involved with the show for many more years than I have and he’s now looking after the cattle classes.
“It is important also that we continue to encourage people to come to the show. It is steeped in history but the show has to move on and I am very conscious of people’s pockets and how much money families have to spend. I want us to produce the best show we can and real value for money. Our online price is just £10.
“Our main ring will be full all day and we are determined to bring back good old fun to the show with not just our very traditional and hugely popular children’s races but something for the adults too.
“It’s a real slant on wellbeing, mental health and putting smiles back on everyone’s faces after two years of no shows. We want to show just how important family is to us.”
Catherine added that the family friendly dog show where anyone coming along with a dog can take part was another welcome return.
Newby Hall will once again be the location of the show that has been held at three venues over the past decade. Catherine said the show is extremely grateful to the owners of Newby Hall.
“The Compton family are wonderful hosts. Having the show based here for the fourth time this year has allowed us to flourish once more and the admission for the show also including access to the lovely Newby Hall Gardens makes the show an even more attractive proposition for some.
“We are all looking forward to a really great return for Aldborough & Boroughbridge Show in July.”