Tockwith Show returns as a small event making a big impact thanks to dedicated volunteers

Education will once again be at the heart of an agricultural show when the show known as ‘the little show with the big reputation’ makes its first appearance in the 2020s after two years of absence.

Tockwith Show (Sunday August 7) is most definitely an agricultural show that has made an impact in the past and isn’t as little as its strapline makes out. It has attracted a regular attendance of 10,000, is one of few agricultural societies to own its own showground and is blessed with an extremely active committee.

This year the show has a new chairman, a new show secretary, a new main ring team and others making their show debuts.

Georgina Watson is the new chair and said she doesn’t have far to travel on show day.

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    Pig steward Georgina Watson with her mother Tricia Hodgson at the Great Yorkshire Show

    “My husband Edward is an arable farmer and agricultural contractor and we live just 200 yards from the showground. Tockwith has always been my local show. I’ve been coming here since I was born with my family from Acaster, Selby.

    “I’ve been involved as a steward and then running the pigs section here since I was in my teens. We have a good entry of pigs that can rival Driffield Show. I’m also a steward at the Great Yorkshire Show, that I took on around the same time.

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    “I’m in at the deep end this year having taken on the role of chair. When you are on the committee in your own specific role you don’t need to know what’s going on all around the show, but now I have to know everything and ask a lot of questions. I really won’t know everything that is involved until it is show day.”

    Georgina said her inspiration when chairing the committee is local farmer Sam Blacker of Green Hammerton who held the position for many years.

    “I have Sam’s voice in my head when I chair meetings. I always admired the way he did it. Sam is a great people person and the way he could manage volunteers was second to none. Because people are giving their time voluntarily it’s not the same as running a business, but everything still needs to be run professionally.

    “Sam always knew how to get the best out of everyone and I hope I can too.

    “My aim is to make sure that we don’t just think short-term. I’d really like Tockwith Show to be around when my children Charlie, six, and Lois, four, have grown up in the same way as it was for me.

    “That’s why one of the attractions we have is all about education. Our former chair Lisa Chasney came up with her brainchild, The Children’s Discovery Zone, and this year’s show will major on sheep as we have. The Sheep Show people coming and once their shows have completed families can then learn all about sheep’s wool, lamb for meat and the varied products that come from flocks."

    Georgina said that one of Tockwith Show’s new appointments had come about through a passing of one of the show’s most popular people. Others will also be making their debuts in new roles on the showground this year.

    “Norman Waller, who many show people will know, sadly passed away and we now have Chris Lightly as our new show secretary and the pair of us being in our new roles has meant we’ve had to work hard through the changing Covid landscape to bring about the show’s return.

    “Sally-Anne Hannington, who has been massively involved with the horse section previously, which is another important part of Tockwith Show, and has now taken on main ring duties with her husband David; Maureen Atkinson has taken on the Farmers Market area and has also helped me immeasurably, picking up all the loose ends; and my sister Millie is taking on the pigs section this year, if she enjoys it she will take over from me. I hope she does!

    “But I have to say that all of our committee are fabulous at what they do. Mike Taylor is fantastic at setting up and organising the showfield and has been for many years; Steph and Philip Hughes of Angram run the sheep section like clockwork and we have worked really hard at getting a new website up:”

    Georgina said that with excellent classes for sheep, pigs, alpacas, goats and horses; plus the Children’s Discovery Zone, falconry demonstrations, an ever popular Farmers Market and many more areas of the showground the main theme coming from everyone this year on the show’s return was to get back to normal.

    “This year we have set out not to change things too much, because they work for a reason. We will see what happens at this year’s show and the comments we receive on the day and afterwards before looking at how Tockwith Show progresses for the future.

    “I love what I do at the Great Yorkshire Show and have always loved organising the pigs section at Tockwith Show. I’m looking forward to my first show as chair here and a successful return for us.”