Our friends Wendy and Bob Reeves moved to the village from Loughborough, Leicestershire in 1998 for work reasons and we visited them a couple of weeks after they moved in. I’d been into growing veg for show for several years and my ears pricked up when Wendy mentioned there had been a show in the village just the previous weekend. She also said that she’d spoken to someone involved in the organisation and that they wanted an influx of new exhibitors as the same chap kept winning. I resolved to enter in 1999 and give this as yet unknown man a run for my money. However, as I found out in due course, that fellow was the wonderul and legendary Les Stothard and he was nigh on unbeatable! Luckily for me, Les retired from showing not long after that and I was lucky enough to win the cup for most points on several occasions as a result. However, my abiding memories of Sturton Show are the friendly atmosphere and the welcome I always received when I turned up at 7am with my car full of veg, flowers and cacti…..as well as a cake or two from my wife. It’s a really special event and its longevity is something to be enormously proud of. The fact that most of the village seems to be involved gives it a rare atmosphere and long may that continue.
I had an annual ritual after staging my exhibits of getting the newspaper and some food from the village shop, then driving along the A1500 towards Lincoln to park up by a brick pumping house. After reading the paper, eating the food (and very often answering a call of nature behind the pumping house!). I then settled down for a couple of hours sleep…..I was invariably up until the early hours preparing my veg and that coupled with the early start meant I didn’t take much rocking. Very often I would collect my wife from Lincoln station before we went on to the show to see how we’d done, and as I’ve already said I was often lucky enough to win the odd bit of silverware. The best bit was observing the after show auction as my veg was snapped up by young kids spending their pocket money and walking out the door with my 5′ long parsnips and a smile on their faces. It always seemed to be the case that my team Manchester United had a televised evening match on Sturton Show day so I would then catch the second half in The Plough before driving back to Loughborough
I won’t be there this year as it’s my 25th wedding anniversary year and I promised to cut down on the amount of showing I did this season, but I hope to return in 2013. See you all then.