A letter to all supporters from the Chairman of Slaley Show
Your Show committee was hoping to stage a range of outdoor-only events at Townhead on the August 14th show day. However, after a long discussion when meeting on May 27th it was decided the risk created by the threat of an extension to national Covid 19 restrictions beyond June 21st made the danger of unnecessarily incurring avoidable cost and inconvenience too great.
As a result, the 160th Slaley Show has again had to be cancelled.
I am sure you are as disappointed as we are. However, we could not ignore the threat, created by emergence of yet another covid variant, that the anticipated mid-summer lift in national lockdown restrictions could be extended. It must be appreciated it is impossible to insure against Covid related cancellations.
Nevertheless, we remain determined to stage the 160th Slaley Show at Townhead on Saturday August 13th 2022 and look forward to a continuation of your much appreciated support.
We are however, still hoping to hold an informal social event, possibly in the form of children’s sports followed by a hog roast then some music on the show field over the normal show weekend. Plans for this will be finalised when the committee meets on June 24th. At this stage it is expected that admission will be by ticket only and these will be secured, without cost, after giving your name to Committee members.
It goes without saying that members will be the first to be informed of our final plans.
I am pleased to report that the show remains on a sound financial footing so the staging of future shows on behalf of the Slaley and Hexhamshire communities is not burdened by financial doubt. The first show was staged in 1845 so it is no surprise that its staging has occasionally been interrupted by national crises, including world wars and animal disease epidemics like Foot and Mouth. Thus, the current Covid induced cancellation is only the latest in a long line of unavoidable interruptions.
Our determination to continue the show tradition will not surprise you. Nor will our determination to stage a truly excellent event next year – especially as all the indications are that it will be enthusiastically attended by people like yourselves who are anxious to enjoy its unique atmosphere and also meet up with their many friends.
We thank again for your continued support and are confident you will not be disappointed.
A TRADITIONAL COUNTRY SHOW WITH LOTS FOR ALL TO SEE & ENJOY.
About Slaley Show
This annual exhibition of produce, livestock and skilled craftsmanship by the local community of Slaley and surrounding districts has seen many changes in its history; it has continued to survive and prosper nevertheless, to become one of the best village shows in Northumberland. Successive generations have worked hard to maintain the Victorian tradition of an annual 'get-together' of local people competing in friendly rivalry, or simply chatting over a cup of tea and a sandwich.
It began life in 1845 as the Slaley and Hexhamshire Floral and Horticultural Society Show, but by 1870 it was known as the Annual Sunday School Festival and Flower Show, and in 1902 it changed its name again to Slaley Flower, Butter and Poultry Show. It has changed venue from the Stanegarth Garden, behind Orchard House and behind the Rose & Crown, to its present location at Townhead in 1916. Similarly, the number and types of classes have changed over time; initially only flowers, vegetables, bread and eggs were shown, with animals being restricted to best dressed chickens! Gradually, classes for sheep, calves, poultry, goats and more recently alpacas were introduced, whilst the Industrial Section, encompassing everything from baking to photography, knitting to stick dressing, goes from strength to strength, attracting over 1000 entries in 2018.
Competitive sports have always proved popular, whether motor cycles or terrier racing, children’s games or the spills and thrills of the horse and pony classes, which now attracts competitors from far afield.
In its long history, the show has faced many setbacks and some cancellations (two World Wars, Foot and Mouth outbreaks in 1966 and 2001, heavy rain in 1956, 2004, 2011 and 2019 and COVID19 in 2020). Each successive committee has not panicked, but simply soldiered on, knowing it has a long and rich tradition to maintain and enhance wherever possible.
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