Oswestry could be a showjumping mecca says MP Owen Paterson

Reporter:

Colin Channon

Oswestry Showground has the potential to become a top-class international showjumping venue.

That is the vision of North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson who is excited the Showground will stage the Scope Festival, an international showjumping event boasting prize money of £150,000.

Oswestry has prised the event from Staffordshire and will stage the week-long event from August 20 to 26.

“This is a really big deal for us and we have done tremendously well to poach it from Stafford,” said Mr Paterson.

“It could be the start of establishing Oswestry Showground as a base for
more equestrian events, which are becoming more and more popular.

“There are so many good facilities here – a nice flat area for the show jumping which is well drained, lots of ground for temporary stables – it could quite possibly really take off.

“All this has been achieved by a team of volunteers who should be congratulated for the huge amount of work they put into it, and it all peaks on one day.”

Mr Paterson can remember missing only one show in the 20 years he has been the area’s MP.

“The date is fixed in the diary – a bit like Christmas Day,” he said. “The first Saturday in August IS Oswestry Show day.

“This show really works. The West Mids show did not work over two days – there wasn’t enough to do and the activities got thinner on the second day. They have now gone back to one day.

“Here, everyone knows you have to turn up on the one day. It’s a real family event with masses to do – you don’t see miserable children being dragged around, there’s so much to see, so much to eat. It’s just a very successful formula.

“There has been another tremendous turnout – they were hoping to attract 15,000 people which is terrific when you think the whole thing is put on by volunteers who put an enormous amount of work into it.

“These one-day shows really work. Oswestry is one of the best examples of one-day shows you can find anywhere in the country. There is so much going on here yet it is all based on agriculture.”

Oswestry mayor Vince Hunt is another who is a big fan of the one-day format.

“I was a farm manager for 16 years and this time of year is very busy for farmers,” he said.

“They can take one day off for the show, but if were run over two days, being absent from the farm for both days could be difficult,” he said.

“This is traditionally a one-day show and I like it that way.

“There’s a real sense of community in Oswestry and this show encapsulates that.

“People who run farms which have been passed through the generations meet up with other farmers on this one day – it’s a community event.”

Email:

colin.channon@nwn.co.uk

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