Getting the show on the road

PUBLISHED: 08:33 03 June 2013 | UPDATED: 08:33 03 June 2013

Julian Taylor, new show director of the Royal Norfolk Show on his Starston farm. Photograph Simon Parker

Julian Taylor, new show director of the Royal Norfolk Show on his Starston farm. Photograph Simon Parker


Tradition, continuity and a welcoming smile are the watch-words Julian Taylor brings to the Royal Norfolk Show this year.

Having taken over as show director last summer, he is part of the new management team at the county’s premier agricultural and commercial event, alongside Greg Smith, the new chief executive of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association.

Julian’s involvement with the show reaches back to 1987 and in the years since he has been steward, head steward, trustee and show committee chairman, as well as being the sixth generation of a Norfolk farming family, enabling him to bring to role of show director a wealth of experience from his deep-seated connections to the event and the farming community it centres on.

“From my point of view,” says Mr Taylor, “it is a huge honour to be asked to be show director.”

The countryside area of the show, where he began as a steward, remains a great favourite and it was from those early days that he recalls how the head steward insisted on those working for him conducting their tasks with a warm and welcoming smile.

“All stewards had to have a smile, have fun and enjoy themselves and ensure the public who were paying at the gate did so too, and that is a belief that I intend to continue to cascade down to all my show staff,” he adds.

Mr Taylor has been married to Philippa for 31 years and they have two daughters: Lucy, who is an event manager, and Frances, who is a practice manager at a GP surgery, while their son Dickon is maintaining the family tradition as a steward.

The family link to the show actually stretches back more than 100 years to the early part of the 20th century, when the event was held at different locations across the county, with Mr Taylor’s ancestors hosting it on their land near Diss.

Mr Taylor runs a 600-acre arable farm at Starston, south Norfolk, having sold his dairy herd two years ago.

But he adds: “With my particular knowledge with livestock, I hope we are able to enhance the numbers of cattle at the show. Although there has been a reduction in dairy herds in the area, people are still keen to show their cattle at the Royal Norfolk Show.”

Mr Taylor is particularly excited at the prospect of the 2013 show on June 26th and 27th hosting the 40th anniversary celebrations of the Rare Breed Survival Trust with a tented village where the organisation will be able to show off 40 breeds of rare animals they have been able to save over the intervening years.

Traffic and its management remain a great challenge for show visitors and organisers but Mr Taylor is urging people to get their early and take advantage of the events taking place from 8am onwards. Above all, he is hoping for traditional glorious show weather to help bring back the numbers who shied away in 2012 because of the unseasonal June that led to the cancellation of shows elsewhere.

“Having a new senior team in place is very exciting,” he says, “and while we want to keep the traditional element, we do want to keep moving forward. But that will be taken in small steps rather than huge leaps; continuity and tradition are absolutely crucial.”

Time for tickets

This year’s Royal Norfolk Show takes place on Wednesday 26 and Thursday 27 June, and it is promising to be a not to be missed highlight of the county’s calendar. More than 100,000 visitors are expected and there will be everything we love about the show, from spectacular grand ring entertainment, livestock and horse classes to celebrity visits and 650-plus stands for those who love shopping.

Tickets are now on sale and can be bought online right up to and including the days of the show, by post to the Show Office at Norfolk Showground, Dereham Road, Norwich, NR5 0TT, or on 01603 748931. There are also ticket outlets around Norfolk, including some supermarkets and the Tourist Information Centres - take a look at the website’s ticket office locator to find your nearest outlet.

To avoid problems with postage, the Show Office will stop posting tickets after June 20, although they can still be collected in person or bought from the other ticket outlets and online.

Tickets remain the same as last year, at:

Adults £19 (in advance) and £22 (on the day).

Child five to 16 years £7 and £9.

Children under five free.

Family ticket (two adults and up to three children) £50 (advance), £62 (on the day).

Senior citizens (65-plus) £17 and £20.

Registered disabled £17 and £20.

Carer £10 and £11.

Car parking £6, motorbikes £2, cycles free.

Formula for a great president

TV presenter Jake Humphrey is to be the 2013 President of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association – and the new dad is thrilled to take on the role which reflects his own family’s ancestral roots.

“I am incredible honoured to be asked to fulfil a role as prestigious as president of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association in 2013,” says Jake. “People may know me best for my television work, however, they may be less well aware of my Norfolk farming roots. I come from a long and varied line of agricultural workers from across the county, and to this day my uncle farms land just across the border at Wisbech.

“Having spent many school trips wandering around the show over the years I can’t wait to attend as president, and put my own stamp on this year’s event. I’m incredibly proud to come from Norfolk and can’t wait for the 2013 Royal Norfolk Show.”

RNAA chairman Sir Nicholas Bacon adds: “The Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association is absolutely delighted to have Jake Humphrey as its 2013 president, and we look forward to working with him in the next year. He follows a very long line of well-known and successful past presidents, each of whom has brought their presence to the Royal Norfolk Show and wider talents to our association.

“Where I know Jake will excel is through his great profile – here in Norfolk and nationally - and his particular ability to connect with young people, which will really benefit the RNAA and the county. At a time when it is has never been more important to future-proof agriculture by bringing new people into the industry, having Jake as an advocate for our association is an immense asset.”

Latest from the EDP Norfolk Magazine