Who Runs The Show
People always talk about the Edenbridge and Oxted Agricultural Show being especially friendly and welcoming. Perhaps it is because, 175+ years after the first Show, the two day spectacle is still put on by volunteers, many of whom have had family connections going back generations – an example of a community working together with such enduring success.
The work of the volunteers, organised by the Show Council, is all towards the common aims of the charity : to support agriculture, especially developing the industry’s next generation and to educate the public about farming.
The Show Council, currently 40 in strength, works throughout the year on preparations for the forthcoming Show and forward-planning for future Shows. They meet five times a year away from the Showground plus several times during the event. Council sit on ten committees of around 15 members each which also include a large number of volunteers who do not sit on Council. These are Agriculture, Ardenruners (a group of younger volunteers, training to be the future Show organisers), Catering, Country Sports, Gates, Health & Safety, Horticulture, Hunter & Gymkhana, Marketing & Showground Committees. The ten committee chairmen all sit on an eleventh Management Committee with the Hon President, Hon Chairman, Hon Treasurer and Show Secretary. The Show is also able to call on the voluntary services of specialists such as the Hon. Veterinary Officers and the Hon. Farrier. In addition to the Council and Committees there are volunteers who attend the Show to spend the entire time working at a specific role such as the two ladies who year after year man the Media Tent and the team of announcers on the tannoys of the six competition rings.
As the visitors stream through the gates they are greeted by yet another group of Show volunteers – those that do the invaluable task of organising parking and controlling the six entrances to the showground. As the popularity of the Show has increased so more volunteers from the community have been required to ensure the smooth running of entry to the Show. For the past two decades the Show Council has been helped by five local squadrons of air cadets. The cadets - girls and boys aged between 13 – 19, help the Show volunteers to set out car parks and help with parking. The cadets and leaders camp on the showground for the three days and that adds to the experience that the cadets get out of volunteering to help.
This time and dedication is paralleled in all other areas of the Show with Council and committee members spending many days and weekends leading up to the Show on the showground preparing for all eventualities in all weathers. Sometimes it is drainage and mud issues and sometimes it is wasps nests and cloud dust issues but they all have to be dealt with by the volunteers, often long into the night.
In addition there are many charities which send volunteers to man stands such as the WI Marquee which holds craft workshops for children, the Sussex Bat Hospital, and the Surrey Docks Children’s Farm. The Show organisers are extremely grateful to all who help to put on the annual Show – one of the oldest two day traditional agricultural shows in the country and are always in need of extra volunteers so please get involved by telephoning the Show Office on 01737 645843.