The Nidderdale Agricultural Society is seeking an Honorary Sponsorship Secretary to succeed Ian Hall who has occupied the post for over 30 years, during which time the society has developed into one of the leading one day shows and celebrated it’s centenary in 1995. Ian who in 1992 became the show President, worked tremendously hard in his role, he also instigated the Competitive Display by Students of Nidderdale High School which ran for many years in the main ring and involved events such as running, biking and horse riding and was instrumental in the initial organisation of the Pateley Pantry food tent.
Ian and his wife Margaret had always been keen walkers and their weekly walks always seemed to draw them to the Nidderdale area, so in the early 1970’s Ian and his young family decided to move to the dale from Harrogate, He had already at this time been working for the Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC) for several years and had close involvement with many people in the Farming Industry, including farmers, wholesalers, retailers and Agricultural Show Societies. Due to his close ties with and understanding of the farming industry within the area Ian was approached by Francis Dawson who as a Nidderdale Agricultural Society Committee member had already had dealings with Ian through their regular NFU meetings.
In 1989 Ian who had by then become Chief Officer for the North of England MLC, was awarded the MBE in recognition of his services to the livestock industry.
Francis and Roger Worthing the previous secretary for the show had developed an embrionic scheme for sponsorship prior to Ian’s arrival and it is this method that Ian has built upon. Since taking on the role Ian has seen the show evolve both with committee member strength and numbers and in the variety of upland and livestock farming the show now represents, giving something specific to all interests.
Ian is proud that the Nidderdale show has always stayed true to its origins and remained a traditional agricultural show, not being amalgamated into the commercial world being merely a shopping extravaganza for it’s visitors. Which is difficult in the modern world where commerciality is key, he believes the show has maintained a balance between modern needs and the original aim of the show, which is for Farmers to compete against one another, in the pursuit of improving standards in their stock and produce. “
When asked about the changes he has seen over the years Ian said “The show has opened up to new types of exhibitors and there is always a queue of companies wanting stands, however we try to do our best to ensure that they are still connected to agriculture in some way. The site itself has also been widely developed and diversified, new facilities on the show field, the laying of new roads, the best quality marquee’s and of course the quality of it’s exhibits all work together to improve visitor numbers and membership each year which in turn gives the sponsors the confidence to invest in our show, proving that we are still one of the best shows to visit.
There have also been many improvements to the show sections over the years. The dog Show has developed to be one of the leading canine events in the North, the poultry and rabbit sections have shown a genuine interest in new breeds, the goat section has been grown entirely by the enthusiasts that run it and the pigs section which has suffered greatly over the last few years due to disease is back showing it’s traditional breeds. The carcass demonstration from the 1980’s onwards has helped people realise the importance of local produce to local hotels and shops developing a link for consumers from the live product to the end result.”
Ian also feels that the involvement of young people with the show is what will keep it current and successful, the encouragement of Youth such as Young Farmers who will carry on from their fathers, and Grandfathers before them is what will keep the show alive. The introduction of new classes such as the Junior Shepherd are developed with these thoughts in mind.
One of the main changes he has witnessed over the years has been the shift in awareness of Health and Safety, and of the dangers now associated with running a large public event. All of these improvements do however add to the cost of running the show and in order to run a safe, health conscious show you have to accept that the income of the show determines how thoroughly this can be done. Financial insurance on the day and improvements to the site are all factors that raise the running costs, which makes the importance of attracting new sponsors each year cruicial to the smooth running of the show.
The show prides itself on retaining a traditional reputation and attracts high levels of entries in livestock and produce classes to compare with the very best in the country. However keeping up to the highest standards in modern times incurs high costs, and income generated form the society’s sponsorship scheme helps to ensure that the Nidderdale show continues to attract high attendances. Sponsors are invited to meet the prize monies offered in the various competitions on show day and they are encouraged to present the rosettes awarded to the leading breeders and competitors who are a vital part of the show.
The Nidderdale Agricultural Society are now beginning the search for a new Sponsorship Secretary to take over Ian’s position. The role is hugely important in maintaining a network of supporting companies and individuals and hosting them on show day. It is one of the most critical positions within the show as without the Sponsorship from local firms and individuals the Nidderdale Show would not be able to exist as we know it. For most the Nidderdale Show is a one day event to visit and enjoy with friends and family, but for the sponsorship secretary it is the culmination of the years work of preparing, organising and arranging the funding necessary for the Nidderdale Show to be a success. As soon as one show is over the preparations begin for the next. Ian Hall describes the role as ‘enjoyable, and totally absorbing working with enthusiasts in a range of businesses and ocupations. ‘ Who m ever follows Ian as Nidderdales sponsorship secretary will inherit upwards of a hundred loyal sponsors of the show and he invites anyone interested in the position to get in touch with the Show Secretary Susan Monk on 01969 650129.