Thornton-le-Dale celebrates 100th show with commemorative book

Martin Blythe, chairman of Thornton le Dale Show and Sports Society with the group who researched and wrote the Souvenir Book. Left to right Sarah Beal, Gena Douglas, Helen Pashby, Lorraine Walker and Carol Fitz-Gibbon.
Martin Blythe, chairman of Thornton le Dale Show and Sports Society with the group who researched and wrote the Souvenir Book. Left to right Sarah Beal, Gena Douglas, Helen Pashby, Lorraine Walker and Carol Fitz-Gibbon.

Thornton le Dale Show and Sports Society have launched a souvenir book to celebrate their 100th Show which will be held on Wednesday 7th August.

The show, first held in 1907, has been one of the highlights of village life for over a century, only halted by the Two World Wars and the outbreak of Foot and Mouth in 2001.

Gena Douglas, show secretary and Carol Fitz-Gibbon who edited and compiled the book

Gena Douglas, show secretary and Carol Fitz-Gibbon who edited and compiled the book

The book has been a labour of love for Sarah Beal, Gena Douglas, Helen Pashby, Lorraine Walker and Carol Fitz-Gibbon who together researched and wrote the book.

The five divided the 100 shows between them into twenty year segments and each wrote their own section. Carol, who has previously written books for Ryedale Family History Group, compiled and edited the book, which comprises over 80 pages.

There is a cyclical history to the story. Carol’s maternal grandfather, the enigmatically named Septimus Lowish, was treasurer and secretary for the show for many years: “ it has been an incredible experience reading his handwritten minutes,” she said.

From the beginning, livestock have paid a prominent part in the show. However, as the 20th century evolved, the committee moved with the times creating new classes not only for continental livestock, horses, sheep, goats and ferrets, but also for handicrafts, flowers, produce and children’s exhibits.

Show secretary, Gena Douglas is keen to describe some of the more unusual classes over the years: “There was even one for a hand-knitted bathing or swimsuit,” she laughed.

In celebration of the centenary, several classes are being reintroduced “We didn’t think there would be many entries for a knitted bathing suit,” said Gena: “however, we have reintroduced classes for new garment made from old, and model made from a well known washing up liquid bottle!”

Over the years the scale of the show has changed immensely, growing from 400 attendees in the first year to an annual gate of over 15,000.

This year will also see the resurrection of the Rural Ball. The Rural Ball is run by the people of the village for the village, with a range of organisations working together to pull it all together including local businesses, the WI and the canasta club.

The Thornton-le-Dale Centenary Souvenir, is available now from Wardill Brothers in Thornton le Dale, J F Reeds in Pickering and Malton Market Place office, and copies will be on sale on August 7 in the showground price £6.00.