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Countdown to one of Harrogate's oldest vlllage shows

Epic charity cycle ride - Chairman of Birstwith Show Sean McPartland. (1807231AM1)
Epic charity cycle ride - Chairman of Birstwith Show Sean McPartland. (1807231AM1)

One of the Harrogate district’s longest-standing and strongest-supported rural shows is back tomorrow - but its chairman is already planning his getaway.


Hard-working villagers are deep in preparations for Saturday’s Birstwith Show.


But Sean McPartland, the chairman of the show’s organisers Birstwith Horticultural Society, also has his eyes on a epic bike ride for charity shortly afterwards.


Married to Kathleen, who is also on the committee, Sean will be setting off less than a fortnight later on phase two of the Arctic to Africa bicycle ride from Sweden to Monaco to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK.


Sean said: “We chose Alzheimer Research UK as it is a charity very close to a lot of the riders’ hearts, especially my own as I lost my father-in-law 18 months ago to the disease. It isn’t just me, there are four other riders. So far we have raised nearly £13,000.”


Most of the current Birstwith Show committee have been devoting their time to the event for the last ten years.


Last year’s 150th show proved the show is as healthy as at any time since it first took place in a tent in 1867.


Birstwith Show committee member Andrea Walwyn said: “We’re always learning but I think we’re gettting better each year. We ran out of programmes last year which means there was around 3,000 people. It’s hard work but the key thing is we all really enjoy it.”


Although the show is a fun event with live music, including an acoustic jam session, an appearance by Stray FM, the Suitcase Circus, the HDDC Dance Group, lots of children’s activities and a well-stocked bar, it lives up to its rural heritage.


As well as awards and trophies for horticulture, arts and crafts, cookery and flower arranging, there are also animal classes.


This Saturday will see the return for the first time in 25 years of horses. Though limited to a Galloping Acrobatics display, organisers say it is a step in the right direction.


Show secretary Amy Holmes said: “The committee has been wanting to bring back horses for a while. Horses are a part of our daily lives still around Birtswith.”


The show starts this Saturday at 12.30pm. As well as improved car parking and a new marquee, it also boasts the traditional Show Princess with a guard of honour by apprentices from Harrogate’s Army Foundation College.

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