Andrew Takes Control
New Chairman Appointed to Key Local Society
It is also one of the most important dates of the year for Andrew and is set in stone in his annual calendars.
Andrew, hefted in the Glendale area, is a member of a noted farming family, describing himself as a sheep breeder through and through. In taking up his role, he brings with him his very own pedigree. He is part of the third generation of the renowned Suffolk Sheep breeders, J Walton and Son – established by his grandfather Joe in 1937, selling rams to a top of 11,000 Guineas (Roseden Special Blend) in 1982.
Inheriting this very strong farming heritage, Andrew was born and brought up on the family farm under the guidance of his also famous father, Michael, at Roseden, near Wooler in Northumberland.
Andrew took up his first tenancy at Wandylaw near Alnwick in 1987, and established flocks of Blackface Sheep. Following Foot and Mouth had swept through the area, Andrew decided to head down as he describes it, the “North Country Cheviot Road”.
Today, this “road” has led him to farming at Preston Mains and Rock where his sheep farming enterprise comprises 900+ ewes, with flocks of purebred Texels, Suffolks and Blue Faced Leicesters, and Suffolk and Texel Cross Ewes as a closed flock for new stock rams. All stock is sold through Acklington Mart, live weight, with rams going to Kelso Ram Sales.
As to the future of the sheep industry, he says: “With Brexit – who knows. Brexit has me worried, because of the export market.”
The Glendale area has Wooler at is centre and although Andrew has lived on the periphery for the last 30 years, he has been a stalwart of the Society, and has never missed a show in his entire life. He is also a keen supporter of all local shows, regularly showing sheep at Powburn, Whittingham and Ingram. At Glendale Show, he usually shows between 25-30 sheep annually.
Andrew has been a faithful servant of the GAS for many years, serving on the Committee and looking after the Livestock as Chief Livestock Steward, a role which he handed over to Ian Murray in recent years.
“Shows are important for promoting individual flocks and herds, and it is tremendous, says Andrew, “to see this sector of Glendale Show growing from strength to strength.”
But Andrew is also keen to ensure that the livestock section continues to evolve to meet the ever-changing demands of the livestock industry, such as introducing new breeds and classes. For example, last year, Glendale Show was absolutely delighted to have been chosen to be the platform to hold the English National North Cheviots.
Sheep may be Andrew’s passion, but when it comes to the show, his enthusiasm is all encompassing. “It really is the showcase for the finest of exhibits across all sections, the industrial and horticultural, with its array of cakes, vegetables, flowers and handicrafts, the children’s entries, the horses, ponies, cattle, goats and donkeys. There really is no other event like it in North Northumberland.
“Of course, the people and the characters, volunteers and committee also play a key part and I feel so very fortunate to be part of a rural communities that has a real community at its heart.
“Many people ask me if there is a place for a local shows? The answer is a definitive yes.
There are many events competing for the same audiences, however we remain firm to our roots, ensuring farming and agriculture remains at the show’s hearts and I am pleased to say that the thousands of people who attend every year must agree with me. We have a very strong following from both sides of the border and many travel from the North East for what they know is a tremendous showcase of rural life.
“The GAS is not just about the how, we also organise the Multi Award-winning Children’s Countryside Day, we have held Herd and Flock competitions, Silage competitions and launched this week, the Outstanding Field of Stock competition, and we hold regular members events across the year.
“Farming especially in such a rural part of the country can be terribly isolated and I would like to see GAS become a leading example of providing an important social platform.”
“Personally, I would like to see some traditional rural social events revived, for our members perhaps stock judging, and occasions to encourage debates, discussion and knowledge transfer.”
Throughout the year, across all of the events that GAS organise they are supported by hundreds of volunteers and without this support “the Show quite literally would not happen”, and it is thanks to this support that the Society received the Queens Awards for Voluntary Service.
“As Chairman, I am supported by a fantastic team who I know will help ensure that the Society and the Show continue to revolve to meet the needs of today’s rural and farming community.”
For further information, please contact the Glendale Agricultural Society on 01668 283868 or email [email protected] or visit their website at www.glendaleshow.com.
– ENDS –
Media Contact: Glendale PR & Marketing, T: 01668 283 044 E: [email protected]