Wool to the Fore at Shipston Wool Fair

Shipston Woll Fair 2015On the last May Bank Holiday of 2015 the Warwickshire town of Shipston-on-Stour held its annual Wool Fair in the centre of the town. This was historically run up to the end of the 19th century, and then revived in 2009 by the late Mayor elect Angela Noyce. Since then it has been run every year organised by a local group of volunteers.

The Wool fair includes a display of rare breed sheep along with sheep shearing, local craft and food stalls, historic tractors, a flower display in St. Edmunds Church and music and entertainment from local bands, singers and dancers/Morris men.Shipston Woll Fair 2015

The fair was formally opened by honoured guest Bryan McNerney, after being announced by Shipston Town Cryer Marion Lowe in typical style, and then introduced by the MC for the day Robin Payne (who was later in the day seen playing behind his drum kit). Then the Shipston Town Band entertained the crowd with a few numbers.

Then the Rev. Michael Harris of St. Edmunds Church said a prayer for the day and event before offering hot sausages on a stick to visitors to the church stall! The church was also hosted a flower festival which was part of the Wool Fair.

Shipston Woll Fair 2015The first band of the day Delirium then took to the stage (using the back of a truck kindly supplied by Hacklings Storage and Distribution) with a range of covers from bands including The Artic Monkeys. All of which was really enjoyed by the crowd sitting on the straw bales.

From The Sheep ring Alan Scorer and James Tuffen, from Warwickshire College School of Agriculture, entertained the crowd while they demonstrated how to shear a sheep, and for these sheep it was their first time of shearing!.

Shipston Woll Fair 2015The Rare breeds of sheep included Cotswold, Shetland, Wiltshire Horn, Lincoln Longwool, Romney, Herdwick, Manx, Bluefaced Leicester, Wensleydale, Teeswater, Derbyshire Gritstone, Kerry Hill, Southdown, Leicester Longwool and Poll Dorset.

The Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) were on hand with the sheep on display in their pens, including Beth Sawbridge with Percy a Teeswater sheep.

Each breed was introduced to the crowd by Ed Noble in the Show Ring, with some breeds familiar to those Countryfile watchers on the BBC, and Cotswold farmer Adam Henson.

Shipston Woll Fair 2015There were a couple of Fordson Tractors on display with the aqua blue examples displayed by Derek & Richard Webb. This Fordson Major Diesel example was manufactured in 1953 and brought by The Webb family in Evesham in 1961. It was used until the late 1990s and they restored to its current glory from 2006.

Shipston Woll Fair 2015The craft stalls were demonstrating a variety of spinning wheel and peg looms along with tapestry making. On the food side they were plenty of the local food shops with stands offering both hot and cold snacks.

The Totally Local newspaper for Shipston-on-Stour was also being given out, and Shipston is proud to be the 10th happiest small town in the UK as recently reported in The Times newspaper.

The 2nd band on the stage was the local Shipston High school group Battered Soul who did a variety of R&B numbers such as In the Midnight Hour (featured in the Alan Parker directed film The Commitments) with the large band both on the stage and in front. The lead singer had to make do with a chair after a recent rugby accident damaged his knee).Shipston Woll Fair 2015

The ever-increasing crowd really got in the music.

The next act on display was a change with the ladies of the Shuvani Gypsy Dancers on display, getting some of the crowd to join into. Then we had a lovely singing group the Lady Belles Choir singing numbers from the 1940s.

The day finished with the final band of the day Chuck Harriet, then Ilmington Morris men displayed their skills to the crowd before the Grand Finale with The Morrisons. Then the Town Cryer started off the formal closing ceremony with the Wool Fair Patrons and committee.

For the full image set please review the Gallery Below:

Looking forward now to the 2016 Wool Fair which will take place on Monday 30th May.

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts is an experienced Media, PR, Communications and imaging professional, based in South Warwickshire/North Cotswolds. He specialises in communications, social media, PR and imaging working with both commercial clients and local groups, working with them to maximise their publicity and visibility.He comes with extensive experience in the corporate, public sector and not for profit areas, where he managing their social media and communications campaigns and channels. He spent 10 years (2004 – 2014) working as a UK Motor racing media professional, working with clients for their social media, press releases and newspaper articles, which were supplied with my images. I was fully accredited in the UK for championships such as Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship and British F3/GT championships. I also worked in Europe on the FIA GT championships at Spa Francorchamps (Belgium) and Monza (Italy).

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.