The Show took place this year in the unprecedented circumstances of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, leading to a sideways shift of venue into the Village Hall car park to enable social distancing to be observed, visitor details collected on entry, and extensive health and safety requirements to be met. The unusual sight of masked ladies and gentlemen wearing gloves and serving teas from behind the playground fence was probably a first for the village. The scene was set against a backdrop of six rather jolly bunting-clad gazebos dotted around the carpark, all of which were delightful but the prettiest of which was undoubtedly the Village Shop stall, beautifully designed and curated by the very talented Chris and Mark. We were blessed with blue skies and sunshine, kind people lending gazebos and even coming to put them up very early on Sunday morning, huge support from the marvellous village bakers, dedicated volunteers on the tea stall, excellent entries in all categories and a great turnout on the day from villagers happy to have a village event to come to!
The number of categories was restricted to 5 this year: Fruit, Vegetables, Flowers, Plants and Lockdown Projects. The number and quality of entries in each category was excellent and reflected the time and energy spent on allotments, vegetable plots and creative projects during the year.
Francesca Lloyd – age 6, scooped best in class in the Plant category and Best in Show. The judge commented on the importance of cultivating the interest of children in gardening and noted: ‘I am so impressed at Francesca managing to get an avocado plant growing – well done! This is very impressive – a good root system is now established, and it can now be potted on as a great plant!’
In the Fruit category, Erica’s pears won Best in Class, with Caroline Hunt’s apples being highly commended. We had an impressive number of entries in the Vegetable category, with Iain Duff’s onions judged as Best In Class, the uniformity of David Rickeard’s runner beans and the beauty of Charles Stutley’s tomatoes highly commended. In the Lockdown Project category, Cheryl Forrester won Best in Class for her fine silver necklace, and in the Flowers, Jane Drew won Best in Class for her exquisite white tinged with pink dahlia, while Caroline Hunt was commended for her arrangement and ‘understanding of colour palette but keeping it beautifully simple’. The Community Cup was won by two of our favourite people in the village – Darren and Ruth – for their outstanding commitment to the community during lockdown, providing us with food and beer to help keep us cheerful. Takings on the day enabled us to make a donation of £50 to the Friends of St Andrews.
We were delighted to be joined at Show by the newly formed Hagbournes and Upton Group for Group (HUGS) which promotes household level and village sustainability projects, supports nature’s recovery and campaigns for a greener future (www.hugsustainability.org).
We have had many lovely thank you messages from around the village for holding the event. Huge thanks must go to the dedication of our Committee without whom the Show could not have gone on, Geoff and Linda for their support and opening the hall horribly early, the Parish Council for letting us use the car park, our fantastic team of tea stall helpers, our sponsors – The Fleur de Lys and the Village Shop, and our wonderful judges, Richard Roslyn, Head Gardener at Blewbury Manor, for his extensive knowledge and assessments, and Baz for her informed and insightful judging of so many excellent entries. Finally, a massive thank you to all of those who came and made it such a special and joyful occasion.
Felicity Topping, Chair, Village Produce Show