High Profile Royal Welsh Winter Fair
28 November 2018
Visits from the Countess of Wessex and the Prime Minister demonstrate the profile and value of the Royal Welsh Winter Fair.
Primarily a trade event, the Winter Fair provides a perfect opportunity to network with fellow farmers, producers, suppliers and buyers, and has become the ideal hub to discuss and do business. This is of particular importance at this critical time for Welsh agriculture.
“The Winter Fair is now the greatest prime stock show in the UK, attracting exhibitors throughout the UK.” said Mr Maurice Jones in his address during the official opening ceremony. “The fair has developed, not only continually raising the standard of stock, but also in the promotion of Welsh produced food, which is so important as we enter unchartered waters.
“As an industry, we are very proud of the quality of stock we produce, and in Wales we have some of the best farmers in the World, supported by a huge allied industry in the supply chain and in the food processing sector, producing some of the best and safest food in the World, and providing much employment, ably supported by Welsh Government.”
David Lewis, chair of the society’s council explained that agriculture, of course, continues to form the heart of our events. “One of the pillars of our success is the unwavering support of our exhibitors. We are delighted, despite challenges to have increased cattle entries, increased entries in the carcass hall and the poultry show and strong entries in the sheep, horses and pig sections.
“We also have record entries in the homecraft section and strong entries in floral art and horticulture section. This event goes from strength to strength!”
One of the most prestigious titles to be won at the event each year, the supreme cattle champion, was awarded to `I Candy`, a Limousin X heifer weighing 672kg, exhibited by Edwards Brothers from Corwen. This is a wonderful achievement for the family who through Trebor, Gwyn and now the next generation, are great supporters of the society.
Later sold by our official auctioneers, McCartneys, for £6,600, `I Candy` was bought by the Heifer and Supreme Champion judge, local farmer and butcher Mr Arwyn Morgan from Builth Wells, on his wife’s 70th Birthday.
On Monday, the society welcomed HRH The Countess of Wessex to the showground. “It was a pleasure to have a visit from the Countess at this year’s Winter Fair.” said Mr Will Hanks, Winter Fair Honorary Director. “The five hour visit was packed full and the time soon flew by as we took in the very best that this wonderful event has to offer.”
“Her Royal Highness has a keen interest in agriculture and her knowledge of the industry was apparent as she showed a genuine interest in all sections of the event and chatted freely with everyone she met.”
“We very much hope she enjoyed her visit to the showground as much as we did.”
The Tuesday of the fair saw another high-profile visitor as Prime Minister, Rt Hon Theresa May MP, accompanied by the Secretary of State for Wales, the Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP, visited the showground, for the second time this year, to hold talks with Welsh farming leaders on the impending Brexit withdrawal agreement and meet traders and the public as part of her busy schedule.
We are delighted that the Prime Minister chose to come to Wales first on her tour of the UK and that she returned to the showground so soon after her summer visit to the show.
As an event full of business and industry leaders, the Winter Fair is fast becoming the perfect place for stakeholders to come together. The society is pleased that the Winter Fair has been able to play a role in facilitating discussions between some very influential individuals and organisations, which affect the future of Welsh agriculture and the rural economy.
As part of our strategy to continually improve and move with the times, this year saw the introduction of some new initiatives at the Winter Fair, including the start-up farmers market to support newly established Welsh food and drink businesses. Made possible through a partnership with the Welsh Government Agora project, the market was a great success throughout the two days offering eager visitors another buying experience and the new businesses the opportunity to interact with their customers and gain confidence. The society is proud to be able to support new businesses in this way.
Another new addition was the Royal Welsh Winter Fair Taste Awards. Designed to showcase the many speciality products produced here in Wales, this year the taste test focused on the native lamb breeds of Wales.
Gareth Ward, award winning chef from Ynyshir restaurant in Machynlleth, food specialist, Nerys Howell and executive chef from the Celtic Manor, Mike Bates made up the judging panel of three. Together they declared that, in their opinion, the best tasting breed was the Welsh Mountain - Hill Flock.
Winner of our new commercial hide completion was Double Shuffle, a British Blue sired steer bred and exhibited by G H & A H Roberts of Star, Gaerwen, Ynys Mȏn. Judge and competition sponsor, Hayley Hanson, intends to use the winning hide to turn into luxury Royal Welsh leather goods.
Elsewhere on the showground, the winner of our best overall tradestand award went to Bodoli Ltd, a small business which makes unique and personalised pebble art and hand crafted jewellery with a young 14 year old entrepreneur, Lili Jones at the helm.
This year saw over 400 tradestands, all of whom reported a busy few days. The late night shopping evening again saw thousands of visitors indulging in some Christmas shopping and enjoying the festive atmosphere and spectacular firework display.
“As another Royal Welsh Winter Fair comes to a close, it is safe to say that a fantastic time was had by all. We are forever grateful for the huge amount of work and commitment from the hundreds of dedicated volunteers and stewards, without which the event would simply not happen.” says Winter Fair Chairman, Alwyn Rees “Roll on next year, when we’ll be celebrating the Winter Fair’s 30th anniversary!”
A summary of results:
Cattle Supreme Champion
I Candy, a Limousin X heifer weighing 672kg, exhibited by Edwards Brothers from Corwen. Sold for £6,600 to Mr Arwyn Morgan from Builth Wells, Powys.
Baby Beef Supreme Champion
Queen Bee, a Limousin X heifer weighing 311kg, exhibited by Mr Llyr Hughes from Amlwch, Anglesey. Sold for £7,500 to S Bett from Stirling.
Sheep Supreme Champion
A pair of Dutch Texel lambs, exhibited by Steve and Sara Gibbons from Brecon, Powys. Sold for £800 pph to judge, JM & Sm Rowlands from Llanidloes.
Pig Supreme Champion Single
A Welsh x Pietrain pig, exhibited by DBM & RCM Davies from Lampeter, Ceredigion. Sold for £300 to Mr Rob Rattery from Aberystwyth.
Pig Supreme Champion Pair
A pair of Pietrain x Welsh pigs, exhibited by Mr Myrddin James, Tregaron, Ceredigion. Sold for £240 pph to Mr Rob Rattery from Aberystwyth.
Carcass Supreme Champion Single
A Beltex X, exhibited by Mr Gwynne and Mrs Linda Davies from Tregaron, Ceredigion. Sold to Mr Brian Jones, Castell Howell for £1,800.
Carcass Supreme Champion Pair
A pair of Beltex lambs, exhibited by B Blandford and Sons from Ledbury, Herefordshire. Sold to E & S Thomas from Wauntrefalau,Cardigan for £380 pph.
Welsh Championship Horse
Idyllic Glamorize, a Welsh Mountain Pony, exhibited by Mark & Liz Kilbey from Great Bentley, Essex.
Supreme Champion Horse
Brynseion Red Hot Gossip, a Welsh Pony (Cob type) yearling, exhibited Mrs Ceri Fell from Newent, Gloucestershire.
Supreme Poultry Champion
An Old English Game Spangle Hen, exhibited by M & J Woolway from Swansea.
Supreme Dressed Poultry Champion
A goose, exhibited by Mrs E Marion Evans, Ceredigion. Sold for £160 to Nigels Butchers from Ashbourne, Derbyshire.
Overall Meat Hamper Champion
A Charcuterie Gift Box, by Ruth Davies from Neath Port Talbot. Sold for £50 to the T W Roberts & Son, Malt House, Lisvane.
A full list of results and winners will be available on the website shortly.