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Princess Anne witnesses a first at Great Yorkshire Show

In a first for the event, Princess Anne witnessed an all female sheep shearing contest as she visited the Great Yorkshire Show on Wednesday.


Upon The Princess Royal’s arrival to the show on Wednesday, she was greeted by dignitaries including the North Yorkshire Police Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwick and show director Bill Cowling. She was also presented with a small cream rose corsage by six-year-old Francesca Kottler, who according to her mother, was very nervous to meet the Royal.

It was the all female sheep shearing competition that caught Princess Anne’s eye though, it was a first for the Great Yorkshire Show and even included two local girls, Penny Bell and Alice Petch from Stokesley in North Yorkshire. Penny insisted that she did not let a Royal guest distract her from the job in hand, she added, “I didn’t know I would be doing this in front of Princess Anne, I was aware she was watching but I just concentrated on getting the wool off.”

Penny Bell, is 23 years old and has been sheep shearing competitively for three years and she also does contract shearing for other farms.

Princess Anne also spoke to Anna Cowperthwaite from Lancashire asking about her shearing career and if it was a full-time job.

From the shearing contest, Anne was taken to the sheep lines where she saw a fleece display with chief fleece steward Peter Todd. Here she was given a brief on the uses of fleece for carpet and clothing before going on to meet the supreme sheep champion.

It wasn’t just the sheep shearing contest that Princess Anne enjoyed while at the show, she took a keen interest in a Gloucestershire Old Spots Pig which are bred on Birchfield Farm in Harrogate’s Summer Bridge. The pig owner, Lorraine Whitley noted, “Princess Anne keeps Gloucestershires on her estate, so she was asking us all how many sows we have. She was really lovely.”

Princess Anne then moved on to inspect a dry stone wall sculpture, known as the Crimple Valley Oracle by Johnny Clasper.

The Great Yorkshire Show ran from Tuesday 8th July to Thursday 10th July. Highlights included a visit from the Countess of Wessex, TV chefs James Martin and Rosemary Shrager in the game cookery theatre and Britain’s largest cheese and dairy show.

photo credit: WorldSkills via photopin cc

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