Norfolk’s county farm business competition has been dominated by two entrants in the 33-year history of the supreme championship.

The current champions, LF Papworth, of Lodge Farm, Felmingham, have won the supreme title on a total of eight occasions since it was first awarded in 1981. In that year, LF Papworth stood reserve to KE Gill Farms.

But the other leading contender, Sir John White’s Salle Farms Co has won a total of six supreme championships. His estate manager, Poul Hovesen took the title for the first time in 1992 and retained the trophy the following year and in fact, became the sixth champion in 2013.

At the launch in 1979, there were then three classes with the category for the largest farm of more than 600 acres and a special award for more than 1,000 acres. Another for the best farm under 250 acres was won by Malcolm Alexander.

The categories were not changed until 1993 when the large farm class was set at 1,200 acres and the smaller class acreage was increased to 600 acres. While a livestock award has been part of the competition for many years, other changes were introduced as a conservation prize was introduced in 2003, for diversification in 2007 and a special category for best Norfolk County Council tenanted farm in 2011.

The focus of the competition, which was originally awarded for the best farm, started to reflect changes in the industry more than 20 years ago when it became the Norfolk County Farm Business Competition.

The competition, organised by the Aylsham Agricultural Show Association, was first held in 1979. For almost 30 years, it was solely sponsored by Barclays Bank but more recently, buying group Anglia Farmers and agents Brown & Co stepped into the breach.

There have been six entrants, who have won twice and seven other supreme champions.

DOUBLE CHAMPIONS

  • ER Spratt 1994 and 1997.
  • Crane & Sons Farms 1986 and 1995
  • Heygate Farms Swaffham 1991 and 2006
  • Harold Jones Farms 1982 and 1985
  • SW Chapman & partners 2002 and 2005
  • KE Gill Farms 1981 and 1990.
  • CHAMPIONS
  • Morley & Boult 1987
  • EF Harrold 1988
  • NE Salmon 1996
  • JF Temple & Sons 1998
  • Billockby Hall Farms 2010
  • AJ Alexander 2011
  • Nigel Joice Uphouse 2012
  • RESERVE CHAMPIONS (more than once)
  • LF Papworth 4
  • Crane & Sons Farms 4
  • Heygate Farms 3
  • ER Spratt 3
  • Fowell Brothers 2
  • RN Harrison & Co 2
John Wootten President of Aylsham Show 2017
Aylsham Show President I am very pleased and honoured to be President of the Aylsham Show in 2017. We moved to Aylsham in 1978, but as a ship’s captain, my job took me abroad for several years. In 1982 my wife’s uncle, John Thornton, then local director of Barclays Bank was President of the Show and he persuaded me to get involved. When illness forced me to retire from the sea, I became Assistant Showground Director to Tom Elwes for several years until 1992. After some years building up Eastern Events, in 2010 I took over as Show Director from Jamie Jamieson. My grandfather farmed at Horsham St Faith and I like to think that he may have visited the show in its formative years. My wife Charlotte certainly competed at the Show in the 1960’s, majoring on the gymkhana. Up until the end of last year I was a director of Revival Productions who have staged very successful concerts in Blickling Park for the past 5 years. All of us who work for the Show have special moments. As Show Director I was always on site by 5 am – a magical time with the mist rising and everything just stirring. The stockmen are washing down their cattle, and sheep are calling to one another. But soon it is all go and you look at your watch and discover it is 2 o’clock in the afternoon before you know it. One of the things I will really enjoy as President is actually being able to see the Show and to meet and thank all the people who make it such a success. The Show is a fantastic organisation where people give their time and energy to raise money for local charities and I am very proud to be a part of it and to be President in 2017.
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