Suffolk Show head steward William hangs up bowler hat after 13 years
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Suffolk Show’s long-serving cattle ring head steward is hanging up his bowler hat after 13 years in the role.
“I shall miss it - there’s no doubt about it,” said William Wrinch, who spent two years as deputy to the late Roger Blyth before taking on the top job.
This year was his last, but he has many fond memories and proud moments to look back on, such as showing the pens to a number of royal visitors including Princess Anne, and the “very affable” Prince Harry.
Hosting the Red Poll world congress and its international competitors was another high point.
Now the task of co-ordinating the show’s team of 16 dedicated volunteer cattle stewards will go to his deputy, James Strachan, who is looking forward to the challenge.
As a young boy, William was so devoted to the show that when he ran away from boarding school, Kesgrave Hall, at the age of nine, his mother thought that he must have skipped off to the showground, which at that point was in the midst of preparations for the annual event.
Police scoured the showground to no avail and young William was eventually discovered sleeping on a strawstack back home.
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William is very proud of the improvements made to the cattle ring over the years, including moving it to a better position and installing strong, modern fencing.
“I think it’s brilliant - you couldn’t really ask for more, and it’s much commented on,” he said.
The cattle competitions, a central part of the agricultural show experience, are one of the event’s big draws, providing a rare opportunity to see livestock farmers in action, showing their expertise in handling, and the magnificent animals themselves. These range from tiny Dexters to mighty British Limousins and Simmentals, as well as the county’s native breed, the Red Poll.
“I’m going to have a year off - but I suspect I’ll come back with less commitment,” he said.
James, who until recently was a dairy farmer, was a regular exhibitor at the show, and enjoyed considerable success in the competitions.
“I just feel after 30 years on the exhibitor side and really knowing that side, it’s really interesting and eye-opening to be on the other side,” he said. “Hopefully, I can keep it going as smoothly as William did.”