End for long standing agricultural show

Lunesdale Agricultural Show is ending after 177 years.
Lunesdale Agricultural Show is ending after 177 years.

A 177-year institution for farmers and visitors is coming to an end.

The Lunesdale Agricultural Show will not take place next year – a decision made weeks after this year’s event was cancelled due to bad weather.

Lunesdale Show featured competitions for cattle, sheep, horses, dogs poultry and home crafts.

The show has run 177 times but the 178th event – scheduled to be held at Underley Park in Kirkby Lonsdale in August – was called off as the showfield was too wet.

Other notable 
interruptions to the calendar took place in 2007 and 2008 when floods and foot and mouth disease prevented the show being staged.

David Barton, chairman of Lunesdale Agricultural Society Ltd, announced the news following an Extraordinary General Meeting last week.

“It is with great regret that we’ve taken this decision” said Mr Barton.

“We have considered every alternative, but sadly we have been forced to the conclusion that we cannot continue.”

Irene Wharton, society secretary, said: “One option was to move to a new venue in the Lune Valley but this would have needed a lot of work by our volunteers.

“We’ve done everything we could to bring in some younger supporters but unfortunately we continue to be reliant on a core group of stalwarts who needed more support.”

For decades Kirkby Lonsdale Rugby Union Club has shared fields at Underley Park with the Lunesdale Show.

However after the Rugby Club’s promotion to the National 3 North League, the highest point in the club’s 140 year history, pitches are being reseeded and the ground’s facilities extended to meet the requirements of the new league. With the rugby season starting in September, it will not be practical to host the show only weeks before the pitches are needed for matches.

“The rugby club did their best,” said Irene.

“They offered us the option of switching the show to May, but this date does not really suit the farming calendar.

“Farmers have other priorities at that time and their animals are not in peak condition for showing.”

Agricultural shows and fairs are a long-standing tradition in rural Cumbria with most valleys hosting their own gathering in the summer months.