4 August 1995

PLENTY OF FUN

ON THE FRINGE

THESE dainty leaves are not what they seem. They are not fresh sprigs of greenery but sugar craft. This was Julia Harveys winning entry in the "Display of foliage" class in the decorative confectionery work section of the produce and handicrafts show.

Increased sponsorship was one of the reasons given for the surge in entries in the handicrafts section which had 32 classes ranging from embroidered farm maps to walking sticks. Entries in the neighbouring produce and honey competitions were also up on last year.

Towards 2000 was the theme set for the Womens Institute federations competition which was won by Powys Montgomery with a display containing examples of calligraphy, knitted lace and quill craft, a dish of microwave tomato and tarragon cream, dried apricot chutney and an elegant floral art contribution featuring anthuriums.

THERE are no kits for model wheelwrights to use, says Brian Young, one of the contributors to the Guild of Model Wheelwrights exhibition where enthusiasts had miniature vehicles of all kinds on display – from ornate gipsy caravans to brass cannons.

Each item is an original, says Mr Young who is one of those specialising in scale models of old farm tackle. His display at the show included a thresher, a sail reaper, a binder, an elevator and a splendid cut-away garden shed.

Wheelbarrows are another of his specialities and the result of his attempt to make a kit to encourage children to take up the craft. He failed to produce a wheelbarrow kit but has made 202 miniature wheelbarrows during the past four years, each in a different type of wood. He had 20 different woods to hand when he started but friends soon found him other kinds to use and he expects to have made 250 wheelbarrows before long. Each comprises 53 pieces, including metal rods and studs, and takes between 15 and 20 hours to complete.

CHILDREN are welcome at the Royal Welsh where theres much for them to do besides follow their farm interests.

In the forestry area where tackle and techniques are demonstrated, lumberjack competitions take place and wood products are displayed, Forest Enterprise ran a continuous programme of ranger-led childrens activities such as eco games, giant mural painting and otter holt building. Those completing a written quiz went away with a tree of their own to plant while timber climbing frames allowed the energetic to let off steam.

Over in the Sports Council of Wales section a host of organisations encouraged youngsters to try out new activities. When Farmlife visited lacrosse, cycling, tug-of-war, abseiling and snorkeling were in progress, and a robot was challenging young table tennis players.

Just around the corner the Brolly Entertainers were back with a programme of magic, music and comedy in a fun area where circus skills were part of the act and taught to children eager to learn.

JUDGE Dredds taxi, the only surviving vehicle left on earth in the year 2139. Judge Dredd (Sylvester Stallone) "is the greatest superhero of them all, dispensing justice to the hapless inhabitants of Mega City One…"

Land Rover was asked to design the vehicle for the film and made 31 of them based on the long-wheel-based Land Rover 101 which is supplied to the army. This one went back in time to the Royal Welsh Show of 1995.

"THE future of rural Wales is in extremely good hands," says Cyril Davies, director of ADAS in Wales. That was his conclusion after helping to judge the final of the 1995 Rural Enterprise competition sponsored by the Welsh Development Agency, the Development Board for Rural Wales, the National Westminster Bank and ADAS and launched at the 1994 Royal Welsh Show.

After county eliminator rounds 10 young farmer contestants who had already presented written business plans, attended for the final interviews before a panel that included Mr Davies and was chaired by Hilary Evans, the Wales YFC chairman.

"We had 10 people in front of us who knew what they were talking about and had thought out their ideas very well," said Mr Davies. "We were looking for a good idea that would produce a viable business that would survive into the foreseeable future," he explained at the reception to announce the winners. Good quality market research was one of the many factors the judges took into account, and contestants ventures had to be in a fairly advanced stage – "not just a gleam in the eye." How much employment the business could support was also taken into consideration.

The range of business ventures presented included mushroom farming, a farm secretarial service, a farm computer and software outlet, a yogurt production enterprise on a family dairy farm, a home-based printing and publishing business, a craftwork enterprise producing wooden display boxes and imaginative packaging and an artist who wished to develop her farm sign and pictures on slate production.

But the first prize of £2000 went to Mari-Sîan Cooper Davies of Gwent YFC who is in the throes of setting up a livery stables enterprise.

Runner-up was Huw Jones of Montgomery YFC who is already running a four-wheel-drive vehicle sales and service business from the family farm and will use his £1000 award to buy more tools and equipment. The third prize of £500 went to Arwel Jones of Ynys Mon YFC for a business supplying office stationery.

MISS Royal Welsh is driven in style around the main ring in John Parkers coach and four. There were 15 contestants for the 1995 title which was won by Heledd Owen of Ynys Mon. She is accompanied here by her maids of honour, Lisa Jones and Eleri Roberts. (Results of other YFC competitions next week.)

HARPIST Rachel Evans entertained visitors to the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institutions stand on the first day of the show. Mrs Evans (77) and her husband John used to farm at Pwlywd Meiford and Gelli Meiford in Montgomeryshire and at Croesaubach, near Oswestry, and in their retirement are among RABIs beneficiaries.

RABI county committees brought cheques to present to national chairman Angela Barton. Cardiganshire, handed over the sum of £2000, the result of a raffle drawn at a cheese, apple and cider evening which itself contributed to the sum. The fund-raising efforts also brought to members attention more elderly and ailing people in need of RABI help, said committee chairman Gwillym Jenkins. (Inquiries: 01865-724931.)

Carmarthenshire gave Mrs Barton a cheque for £1200 to take back to the Oxfordshire headquarters, and Pembrokeshire one for £100. Carmarthen Farmers Livestock contributed £500 and Llanidloes NFU £350.