Crowds and exhibits flourish at fun traditional rural show

The 118th annual Okewood, Ockley & Forest Green Summer Fair, Flower Show and Fun Dog Show took place on Saturday August 13, as every year, at the Okewood Hill Recreation Ground.

This family-oriented traditional rural show has been an almost annual event since 1893 and attracted 1,550 paying adult and large numbers of under 16’s who are always given free admission to encourage the younger generation to take an interest in gardening, cooking and rural crafts.

Some of the committee and helpers have been involved with the show for many years and it is hoped that as local youngsters grow up, some will continue to enter classes and become volunteers or committee members to help keep this show running for future generations.

The focal point of the show is the large marquee with classes for fruit, vegetables, floral displays, art, crafts, photographs, baking, preserves and a large selection of classes for children.

Almost 200 people exhibited and there were over 700 entries on display.

Geoff Tidy had a very successful day, winning the coveted Banksian Medal for most points in Division B - vegetables and flowers, the Major Cup for most points gained by vegetable exhibits in Division B, the Garden News Top Tray award for the best vegetable collection and the Bedford Cup for the most outstanding vegetable exhibit.

The cookery classes always attract a lot of entries with the keenly contested Points trophies for cookery, the Musson Cup won by Julie Wyatt and the Cuthbert Cup for preserves won by Georgina Whorlow.

For the second year running, Chloe Booker won the Chairman’s Cup for most points in Division H - art and craft exhibits for under 16’s.

On the showground, the large display of vintage static working farm machinery included examples of equipment that in times past would have moved around rural areas, setting up on the village green or on farms to grind corn, churn butter, saw or chop wood and pump water.

The show committee thank Jason Wright for organising this and the display of classic motor vehicles and the owners for bringing them to the show.

There was a wide selection and many customers in the food court with exotic and local foods, beer from the Rudgwick-based Firebird Brewery and cider from the Rudgwick cider club.

Mythago Morris dancers entertained the crowd with their dramatic dance and music, while Al Stuart on saxophone and two guitarists played swing and summer jazz classics from the magnificent new terrace outside the village hall.

Visitors enjoyed Punch & Judy, the ball pit, children’s sports, fairground attractions, the magnificent owls shown by Gil Kenward, farm animals, bees, a marquee with rescued parrots awaiting rehoming exhibited by Birdline UK Parrot Rescue, terrier racing and seeing the hounds of the locally-based Surrey Union Hunt.

The tea marquee, organised by Pam Overton and Sonia Jones did its usual roaring trade, selling out of Sonia’s homemade cakes by late afternoon.

Okewood Hill Cricket Club are celebrating their 125th anniversary and welcomed visitors to see their refurbished pavilion and bar and relax with a drink outside in the seating area overlooking the recreation ground.

Sam Dexter won the Jolly Cup in the under 13’s road race in a time of 7 minutes 35 seconds, beating the previous record set in 1996. Sam’s father Dan Dexter won the Campbell Cup for the fastest runner over 40 and Sam still holds the record for the under 10’s road race for the Martin South Cup.

Susie Harrod of Tortoise and Hare of Bramley, Surrey, presented the road race trophies and mementoes.

The children’s sports always attract lots of entrants, cheered on by a large crowd with Autumn South winning the Deuchar Cup for girls and Freddie Johns the Salaman Cup for boys.

The Rotary Club of Dorking Deepdene once again ran the popular fun dog show.

The joint organiser, Sarah Slade, reported that there were over 100 entries and all classes were well filled.

All proceeds of the fun dog show go to charity and Sarah thanked the sponsors of all the classes.

Doodle, a 16-year-old miniature poodle, shown by Guillaume Boyer, not only won the best veteran, but went on to be best in show.

Dianne Buckley-Sunda presented copies of Quentin Blake books to children who had won the three Quentin Blake classes.

Paul Toomey, in his first year as Show Committee Chairman, introduced Christine Wallace, the former Chairman, who was visiting from Yorkshire, to present the other trophies for classes held in the marquee.

Paul commented that there were so many people to thank for their hard work in continuing to make a successful show each year - the marquee exhibitors for putting on a wonderful display, his fellow committee members and around 100 volunteer helpers.

The show operates on a not-for-profit basis, with any surplus invested in future shows and to replace equipment used at the show.

Paul added that the committee was very grateful to all the regular donors to the show, to Wienerberger Limited, Ewhurst Brickworks for sponsoring the children’s classes and to the new landlord of the Punchbowl Inn, Okewood Hill for his generous donation.

The day ended with a barbecue organised by the Committee to thank the volunteers for their help in running another successful show.

Next year’s show will take place on Saturday August 12.