THRESHFIELD'S Dorothy Dean is cementing a long-standing family connection with Kilnsey Show and Sports in her role as new president of an annual showcase that remains one of the biggest and best-know one-day agricultural shows in the country.
She was elected for a two-year stint at this year’s annual meeting of event organisers, Upper Wharfedale Agricultural Society, taking over the high profile role from Halton East farmer Donald Sunderland.
Mrs Dean, of Toft House Farm, who has been a vice-president of the show - held in the shadow of Kilnsey Crag - for many years. She follows in the footsteps of her father-in-law, Anthony Dean, who died four years ago aged 96 and was himself show president around a quarter of a century earlier.
Mrs Dean’s late husband, also Anthony, was a show vice-president too, as well as chief cattle steward and regular exhibitor of both dairy cattle and Mule sheep at Kilnsey. ‘Tant’s’ untimely death in 2008 aged just 58 robbed the regional agricultural community of one of its best-known personalities and advocates.
Mrs Dean’s three children also have a long-standing association and involvement with the show. Sons, John and Angus, are both vice-presidents, while daughter Caroline, who has just moved back to the area, has been a regular attendee over the years.
The Deans, who have been farming in Threshfield for 800 years, have also excelled in the show arena at Kilnsey with both their sheep and cattle, winning multiple rosettes. They landed the local dairy championship in the early 1990s, bettered by their supreme champion success in the dairy cattle section three years ago.
Mrs Dean, who is herself a regular exhibitor and winner of multiple red rosettes in both the flower and bakery show classes at Kilnsey, paid tribute to the work of her predecessor Mr Sunderland.
She said she was looking forward to maintaining the long-held traditions associated with this year’s event – the 119th annual show and sports.
“I am truly honoured to have been appointed president of Kilnsey Show and Sports, which continues to shine the spotlight on the many and varied skills of our regional agricultural communities.
“It remains an event that champions the very best of farming and rural life and crafts, as well as promoting local food and providing educational activities for our children and young people. The event again looks set to provide a thrilling climax to the local agricultural show season. All we can hope for now is some good weather to go with it," said Mrs Dean.
Organisers report that arrangements for this year’s show and sports - on Tuesday, August 30 - are progressing on schedule.
Kilnsey Show first took place in 1897 – Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee year. It’s keynote aim - as today – is to promote and showcase the regional agricultural world, notably the breeding, rearing and exhibition of livestock, coupled with other kindred arts, crafts and rural industries.
Sheep and cattle classes are supplemented by horse events throughout the day – riding classes, shires, hunters, mountain and moorland; climaxing to a thrilling finish with harness racing. Meanwhile, the sheepdog trials attract many of the top dog handlers from all over the country, supported by displays , demonstrations and attractions encompassing all aspects of agricultural and rural life.
There are also competition classes for produce, handicrafts, photography, art, flowers and flower arrangements, vegetables, walking sticks, vintage tractors, dry stone walling and farm crops, and around a hundred trade stands.
Once again, there are over 400 individual show classes, with more than 80 trophies to be won and £17,000 in prize money. The multi-breed sheep and cattle livestock classes remain at the heart of the event, along with a whole host of support activities and attractions of all-round family interest.
Studs and Crooks, a new 224-page colour hardback book by Threshfield author Victoria Benn that uncovers the hitherto hidden history of this iconic show, will also be officially launched at this year’s show by Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire.
Sir Gary, who is a great fan of Kilnsey Show, has also written the foreword for the book, which is the brainchild of Kilnsey Estate owner Jamie Roberts, whose family has been involved in the show for four generations.
Dales farmer Robert Lambert remains chairman, with his wife Kathy Lambert continuing to act as secretary. She can be contacted on 01756 753259, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Full details, entry forms and schedules can be found online at kilnseyshow.co.uk