Centenary show launched in style

Cutting the Lurgan Show Centenary Cake are, Hugh Harris, patron, David Riley, vice chair and Willie Martin, president. INLM1812-114gc
Cutting the Lurgan Show Centenary Cake are, Hugh Harris, patron, David Riley, vice chair and Willie Martin, president. INLM1812-114gc

THE Centenary Lurgan Show was launched on Wednesday night in the historic setting of Brownlow House, Lurgan.

It was a fitting venue given that this year sees the show celebrate 100 years in existence. Technically it cannot be said that it is the 100th show as there were a few years, shortly after its formation when the show was unable to take place due to the outbreak of World War 1 and of course, who can forget the year when all shows were forced to cancel due to the foot and mouth scare?

So it was the 2012 Centenary Show that was launched by the Mayor of Craigavon, Cllr. Alan Carson who congratulated all the committee members for what is one of the main events in the Borough’s calendar.

The Show Secretary, Mrs Michele Doran spoke in the absence of Mr Eddie Harkness, the much respected Chair who was unable to attend the launch due to circumstances beyond his control. It was a packed ball room with over 100 guests assembled, who listened as Michele welcomed all invited guests, which included the MP for the area Mr David Simpson, 3 of the 6 MLAs for Upper Bann, Joanne Dobson, Stephen Moutray and Sydney Anderson as well as the Mayor, Cllr. Alan Carson and the Deputy Mayor, Cllr George Savage. She thanked them for their commitment and support of the show and in particular thanked the Chair of the Development Committee with Craigavon Council, Cllr Carla Lockhart who had worked closely with Michele to secure TESCO as this year’s Major Show Sponsor.

The Secretary then continued to thank the many sponsors assembled and spoke how encouraging that it was to the committee members that year on year many new sponsors come on board and also that there are many very loyal sponsors who have supported the show through the years.

This year sees the Cattle Section Show Championship renamed the DUNBIA Show Championship, with Dunbia being a new sponsor to the show. Other sponsors in the Cattle Section include Deosan Farm Hygiene, McLarnons Feeds, the Irish Aberdeen Angus Association, the Limousin club, Mr David Riley, Woodside Farm, Genus and Buttermilk Bridge Butchers Farmshop. There is also a special centenary class in the Simmental section kindly sponsored by Woodcraft Kitchens, Kilrea and this offers a £400 Prize Fund for a Junior Heifer Derby.

Many qualifying classes are offered at Lurgan including the H2 Engineering Charolais Championship, the McLarnon Feeds/NISA Dairy Cow Championship, the Ulster Bank/NISA Pedigree Beef Heifer Championship and the Irish Shows Association Ivan Porter – Osmonds British Blue Young Bull Championship. Points classes are being run by the NI Holstein Breeders Club and the British Simmental Club and the Aberdeen Angus Society will present the Champion with a commemorative member. So there is plenty on offer for all cattle exhibitors this year at Lurgan.

Four new cups for the Cattle section were presented at the launch. These included The Ruddock Perpetual Challenge Cup (Champion Aberdeen Angus), The Lurgan Show Society Cup (Champion Limousin), The Woodside Farm Cup (Overall winner in the Junior Handling Section) and the Harrison Centennial Show Championship Cup for the Champion Animal in the Show.

The Sheep Section also welcomed new sponsors on board, the overall Sheep Championship having been renamed The First Trust Bank Championship. Other sponsors include the Suffolk Sheep Society NI, Mr & Mrs Allen McFadden who have also kindly donated The Ashley Cup for the Best Group of Three in the Hampshire section, the NI Texel Sheep Breeders Club, Carryduff 24 hour Recovery, Mr David Riley and Mr William Thompson, Agri Manager for Bank of Ireland also presented a sponsorship cheque at the launch.

As well as the Ashley Cup, other new cups presented include The HM Hillis Perpetual Cup, The Ile De France Cup (Adamson Family), The Rouge Cup (Rouge Sheep Society) and The Ella & Rachel Horn Cup.

The Goat and Poultry Sections also have many varied classes on offer for all exhibitors and the Home Industries Section offer classes from miniature gardens to painting, from floral art to photography and this year Mrs Noelle Menaul, one of the Show Directors, along with her daughter Julie takes over the reins from Mrs Elizabeth Harrison who has stepped down after many loyal years to the show. The Horse Section, capably commanded by Mrs Pennie Bunting Secretary and her father Mr Alex Martin, Chair as always will deliver a spectacular scene up on the hill with classes for horses, ponies, driving and donkeys. This section commences at 8am and concludes at 8pm although year on year it is getting later as entries are increasing.

The Secretary concluded by thanking all of her hard working and dedicated committee stating that “A captain is only as good as his crew” and that in this age of girl power she was delighted that the Captain was female and that she had been truly blessed with a fantastic crew who she knew would deliver a fabulous 2012 Centenary show for all to enjoy.

She then reminded everyone that the Centenary Show will be launched extravagantly on Friday, June 1, with a concert with Peter Corry starting at 7pm and concluding with a firework display. It is fitting that 100 years ago the first show had a firework display and now the Centenary show will be launched with a spectacular firework display and concert. Just as Titanic was launched in April 1912 so too was Lurgan Show. The Secretary stated that she was delighted that the outcomes of the two events were very different.

Show schedules are now available on the website www.blearyruralcommunity.com or by contacting the Secretary on 07732 172 214 or email michele.doran@btinternet.com Horse Enquiries to Pennie Bunting 3885 1149.