Mark Scandle, CLA North Territory Manager and Chair of Tynedale Agricultural Society predicts big turnout for Northumberland County Show
The new Chairman of Tynedale Agricultural Society, Mark Scandle, has started his three year tenure at the Northumberland County Show with the prospect of a big attendance at this summer’s comeback event.
He said, “After a two year absence due to Covid-19, it’s very exciting to be back! With so much pent up demand for family days out and social events, we are expecting 30,000 visitors this year. We are already experiencing high volumes of ticket sales and entries for the competitive classes, so it promises to be a big turnout.”
Mark Scandle has been a committed volunteer at the Show for nearly twenty years. His wife, Gaynor, was Show Secretary until 2014, and Mark and their two children, Eleanor (22) and Lewis (25), spent every May Bank Holiday week hard at work on the show field. In recent years, Mark has been an active member of the Management Committee, and served as Vice-Chair since 2019.
Mark told us what he gets out of his involvement with the Society, “The Northumberland County Show is the biggest agricultural show between the Great Yorkshire and Royal Highland show, and is hugely popular thanks to the hundreds of people who volunteer their time to make it happen. For me, and many others, it is a chance to work with friends throughout the year, and enjoy the great camaraderie on the show ground while we set up and take down the event. Tynedale Agricultural Society is a charity, which donates surplus revenue every year to good causes and student bursaries, so it is a rewarding way to give back to the community. It has become a yearly ritual!”
At home in Hexhamshire, Mark and Gaynor love horses, Cocker Spaniels and have a range of enterprises on their land. They run a bespoke home from home dog boarding establishment and Brewers Cottage, a deluxe holiday cottage.
Today Mark is Northern Territory Manager for the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), but his earlier career in media and publishing included Living North magazine, Hexham Courant, starting up North East Life and inspiring the launch of Northern Famer.
The CLA provides support and guidance for landowners to rural businesses, so Mark has his finger on the pulse of farming life. “There is widespread uncertainty in the industry, as we enter a period of transition into new payment schemes under the latest Agriculture Bill; issues surrounding food security; rising fuel, feed and fertiliser prices; and the potential impact of the war in Ukraine on supply chains. It is clear many farmers are diversifying, embracing sustainable practices, ensuring the landscape and environment are maintained for future generations, and planning for a net zero future. Adapting is the key to survival.”
He believes The Northumberland County Show and other agricultural events have a unique role in promoting communication and bonds across communities. Mark explains, “Farmers are often unfairly vilified, and there is negativity towards them in the press or on social media, often through a lack of understanding. The Show gives everyone the chance to get up close to animals, talk to farmers and food producers, find out more about where their food comes from while enjoying a brilliant day out. It creates connections to rural life, food production and ultimately, the land that sustains us all, and it is an honour and a privilege to be part of that process.”
With over five hundred livestock classes, high speed main arena attractions like the Newcastle Diamonds Speedway motorbike team, and wonderful educational entertainment like the Sheep Show and Giant Tortoises paddock, visitors are sure to find plenty to enjoy. Mark concluded, “There is no greater showcase of the best of the best of best of Northumbrian agriculture; it is a powerful force for good in the county.”
The Northumberland County Show takes place on Bank Holiday Friday 3rd June, at Bywell near Stocksfield. Tickets are on sale now through www.northcountyshow.co.uk