This year’s President of the Devon County Show – Edward Darke – is exploring the Show, held on May 17, 18 and 19 at Westpoint showground, Exeter, for the first time in decades despite being involved for over 50 years.
South Devon farmer Edward Darke, who has been the Chief Steward of Livestock for the last eight years and previously Chief Steward of Other Livestock, and a successful competitor with his pedigree Devon and Cornwall Longwool sheep, previously has been fully occupied with making sure everything goes smoothly at one end of the 93-acre showground.
It’s all change this year; instead of seeing livestock safely unloaded on Wednesday evening (May 16), he will attend the Church Service in the Devon Young Farmers pavilion and afterwards join them for ‘a little "tipple" and a sausage roll!’
“Looking through the programme of events and my President’s tours, my wife Sue and I are so looking forward to going to the many Show features and meeting the people who give their time so willingly to organise three wonderful days for our Show visitors,” he said.
On the opening day (Thursday, May 17) he will attend the Country Landowners Association breakfast debate before visiting the Country Life & Woodland section. “This is such an interesting place, especially as the government are trying to promote and preserve more wildlife throughout the country,” he added.
Then he will visit the FarmWise Children’s Farm: “I do encourage families to visit this feature and find out more about where their food comes from. On the same note, it is certainly worth a visit to the fascinating Bees & Honey marquee where children can learn how important those tiny creatures are to the countryside. If you fancy finishing your day with some crazy entertainment, watch out for the Zorb Football in the Rathbones Main Arena!”
They will return on Friday (May 18) for another busy day: “One of the highlights is that we are honoured to have the prestigious Burke Challenge Cups for the Best Pair of Dairy and Best Pair of Beef animals at the Show. This will be a great spectacle in the Rathbones Main Arena from 3pm. After the judging, which is followed by the wonderful Grand Parade of livestock, we will be privy to presenting the Long Service Awards to individuals who have dedicated many, many years to farming and agriculture. After the Awards, we will have a welcome stop at the Ales of Devon ‘Contented Cow’ to enjoy just half a pint of this year’s Show beer named after me!”
Then they will go to the new music and food venue, The Watering Hole, to visit the Show’s Next Generation people which has been set up to encourage those who are young in age or attitude to become part of the county show as stewards, members and exhibitors.
Following the spectacle of the fast and furious Inter Hunt Relay, they will end the day at the Stockmen's Supper where up to 400 guests will sit down for locally sourced roast lamb. For the first time, the Show will be auctioning the Champion and Reserve Champion carcase lambs in aid of this year’s official Show Charity, Dame Hannah Rogers.
On Saturday (May 19) they will head off to the new Ocean Discovery Zone marine conservation feature, watch the beef, sheep and pigs Young Handlers, see the Blacksmiths and Farriers in action, catch up on the equine and call into the Mole Valley Farmers Village in the centre of the showground.
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Hi, I am Colin Slade, I am the New Business Manager here at thebestof Exeter and I handle lots of the PR and News stories for our clients