STEPS have been taken to create a more secure future for agricultural shows and events in the North-East of England.

Gaynor Scandle, secretary of Northumberland County Show, has volunteered her time, experience and connections to lead a support network for those involved in the management of similar events across the region.

Supported by the show’s management committee, she hopes to share knowledge, commercial information and best practice through the network.

The group will be part of The Association of Shows and Agricultural Organisations (ASAO), a nationwide charity set up to support, educate and promote agriculture, horticulture and rural affairs through events and shows.

Its membership includes major shows in Yorkshire, all the Royal Shows, Burghley Horse Trials, and numerous game fairs, food festivals and horticultural shows around the country.

Mrs Scandle said: “In my role at the county show, I attend national ASAO meetings, which provide me with an invaluable source of information.

However I’ve noticed that there are very few smaller shows from our area that are members.

“The ASAO region we are part of extends from Humberside to Berwick, so it doesn’t have a strong local feel. I decided to set up a north-eastern group to bridge that gap.”

A preliminary meeting attracted almost 20 representatives from agricultural shows across Northumberland and County Durham, including from the Wolsingham, Allendale, Alwinton and Glendale Shows.

They agreed that many small shows struggle with a range of issues, from health and safety, insurance, marketing and finance to weather related problems.

Nick Hargreaves, of Glendale Show, said: “It’s just what we need. It’s important for all of us to stick together and help each other out.

The North-East ASAO will next meet in March.

Those interested can contact Mrs Scandle on 01434-04216 or email