It was a 60th anniversary to remember for Norfolk’s premier agricultural show and West Norfolk exhibitors and businesses were on hand to play their part in making it an exciting and action-packed 48 hours for showgoers.
While shows in neighbouring counties have fallen by the wayside over recent years, The Royal Norfolk Show still attracted excellent crowds of just over 90,000 over the two days and the showground retained its positive buzz due to families flooding in to the Costessey site from the moment the gates opened first thing Wednesday morning.
One of the first awards to be presented was the prestigious Silver Partridge award, which was presented to Holkham Estate’s Lord Leicester after they saw off competition from several of the county’s biggest farms and estates.
The award, which is in partnership with Mills and Reeve, recognises and rewards farmers and landowners for their efforts to protect the endangered game bird.
Furthermore, 2014 is the second year running the award will be heading to West Norfolk, after Field Farm of Hockwold received the silver trophy last year, which was crafted by Lynn silversmith Tim Clayton.
Justin Ripman, the partner at Mills and Reeve spoke to the Lynn News about this year’s judging and told us that all the nominated farms had done a huge amount of work in preserving the endangered grey partridge.
He said: “It is noteworthy that none of the finalists were what are sometimes described as the big Norfolk grey partridge manors, however all have done a huge amount to encourage and nurture the numbers of this wonderful, iconic, bird.
“Holkham has been a finalist before and Lord Leicester’s commitment to increasing grey partridge levels has been evident for many years.”
Kevan McCaig, Holkham’s head game keeper, said the situation with the bird is looking, “a lot better than in 2012”, with weather conditions helping to increase Norfolk’s grey partridge numbers.
Also nominated for the award were West Acre Home Beat Farms as well as Manor and Lilac Farms of Litcham.
Show crowds were also given a royal surprise when the Earl of Wessex arrived surprisingly early on Wednesday morning, just after 9am, as he became the first member of the Royal Family to attend both days of the show.
The Prince is also this year’s president of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association and began his two days at the show with a salute by the Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas, who were new to the show this year.
With temperatures hovering around the 19C mark, St John Ambulance described the conditions as “perfect”.