Phillida is in the know for new role

Just Regional
Mar 26, 2014 3 mins read

The Aylsham Show welcomes a new president every year. This year Phillida Hurn will bring decades of knowledge to the role. Ed Foss met her.

Walk the livestock lines at the Aylsham Show and you will hear much talk about pedigree and experience.

This year’s president of the show has both – in bucket loads. Phillida Hurn has the experience of attending all Aylsham Shows since the late 1950s apart from, she thinks, a single occasion in the early 2000s when she was in South Africa representing the British Simmental Cattle Society at the World Congress.

Not only that, she also has a fine Aylsham Show pedigree. Phillida is sister to the Wolterton Hall and Mannington Hall-owning current Lord Walpole, thus a descendent of Britain’s first prime minister, Sir Robert Walpole. The relationship between the Walpole name and the Aylsham Show runs deep. The previous Lord Walpole, Phillida’s late father, was once a show president – and the show was actually held at the family’s Wolterton estate in the early 1970s .

Phillida, the sixth lady president of the show, proudly holds the president’s trophy when we meet at the farm she lives at with husband Tony in Wickmere, three miles north of Aylsham. The trophy depicts two cart horses – mare and foal – plus the engraved names of former presidents.

“I suppose I have been to as many or more shows than most people,” said Phillida. “It was probably 1958 when I first went, and took part in gymkhanas from the following year and into the early 1960s. And those were the days before we had easy access to horse transport – we literally rode to the events, took part, and rode home again. They could be long days, especially if the shows were at Cromer or Reepham! At least with Aylsham it was a short ride.

“I began show jumping from the age of 12 or 13, and from there and into adulthood there were a range of different interests at the show.”

There were Jersey cattle in the family, Phillida helped run the dressage and assisted with the building of the working hunter course. And then, in the 1980s, she married Tony and he brought with him his herd of Twyford Simmentals, named after Tony’s home village in mid-Norfolk. There are more than 400 cattle currently in the herd.

Along the way Phillida has, among many interests, managed to fit in being an international three-day eventer, a career breaking-in foals and a place on the council of the British Simmental Cattle Society.

And although she knows the coming weeks and months will be a busy round of meetings and greetings before the Aylsham Show finally arrives on August 25, she is very much looking forward to the role.

“It’s a wonderful, local show with a fabulous reputation around the region. I can’t wait for show day, there is something for everyone and we all hope for excellent weather to support the hard work so many people put in to organise this lovely day.”

Phillida Hurn, 2014 Aylsham Show President

Phillida Hurn, 2014 Aylsham Show President.
PICTURE: Andrew Blundred, HSR Photography


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