Suffolk Show: Meet senior steward Mike Harris
PUBLISHED: 16:00 16 March 2014
Not all members of the Agricultural Association or the Show committee are farmers.
Mike Harris is the senior steward for light horses, of which there are just under 1400 entries at the Show. He is now retired from the electricity supply industry, lives in a smallholding outside Grundisburgh where he keeps chickens, horses and rare breed Large Black pigs. Between Show duties he is busy preparing his horse Paddy for its first affiliated one day event.
What you do for a living?
I retired last autumn after 40 years in the electricity supply industry, latterly at Sizewell B. My job has taken us to different areas of the country, from Co. Durham to Gloucestershire to Kent, but we have lived in Suffolk for over 20 years.
How long have you been involved with the Suffolk Show and how?
My wife Claire was first approached to be a steward in the Light Horse Section and I became a Vice-President and attended the Show in support. With my horsey background I was quickly recruited more than a decade ago, and became Deputy Steward six years ago and into the current role in 2010.
What is the best part/has there been a highlight?
The Grand Parade is the best - seeing all the animals on display. Sadly as Senior Steward I seldom get time to see it. A highlight is when a Light Horse wins the prestigious in-hand championship at the end of the second day. I do love it when a Suffolk Punch wins but its special when the winner comes from one of my section’s classes.
Give a fact about the Show that you don’t think people would know
Judges for the Light Horse section, are brought in from all over the country and Europe and cannot return to judge in the same classes for another five years.
Why should businesses not involved in the agricultural community be involved as tradestands/through sponsorship.
The Show is a shop window for the whole of Suffolk. As much as Suffolk is an agricultural county, it also has an immense diversity of businesses from Nuclear Power stations to lawn mower manufacturers and insurance companies. The Show reflects this variety and gives the chance for those attending to see all Suffolk has to offer.
Who is the person you would like most to attract to the show and why?
Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear on BBC2. I‘d talk to him about the ‘horse power’ on display and let him ride on the back of one of the Osborne Refrigeration Scurry carts around the Grand Ring. It’s one of the most terrifying and exhilarating things I have ever done. I was white as a sheet when I got off, and I think that he would be too!
Why do you think that people should attend?
The Show is different every year and it’s all about Suffolk. There’s more than 10 hours of great entertainment each day, good shopping, loads to taste and eat and lots for a family to do. It’s even better value especially this year as 14s and under can come in free.