School potato challenge gets underway for Newport Show

April 5, 2019

Children across Newport and beyond have been handed a box of seed potatoes and a bag of compost as part of this year’s Newport Show Great Potato Challenge.

Children at 13 schools have been given the boxes by organisers of Shropshire’s premier one day show – and they have four months to grow the best potatoes they can.

The potatoes will be chitted, planted and grown at the schools across Newport and surrounding villages such as Church Aston, Tibberton, Edgmond, Lilleshall and Muxton.

Show Manager Sally Western said: “We always love handing out the boxes as the children really get on board and begin to talk about what they’re going to do and how they are going to win, you can see the excitement in their faces.

“It really helps them to understand how their food is grown, from the initial chitting process through to harvesting a crop on show day. It is of real educational benefit and interest to them.”

Staff can give responsibility of the project to whomever they like, such as a class of children or the gardening club.

To spice up the competition both this year’s President, Jo Ford, and Vice President,
John Gough, have been invited to take part.

Judging will take place in the Education Hub at the show on Saturday, July 13 – the heaviest crop of potatoes will win a prize of £100 worth of gardening equipment for the school.

Church Aston Infant School has won the competition for the past two years and Newport Junior, Saint Peter and Saint Paul Catholic Primary, Moorfield Primary, Newport Infant, Castle House School, Burton Borough, Newport Girls’ High and Haberdashers’ Adams are among other schools taking part.

Christobel Cousins, head teacher at Lilleshall School, said: “This always forms a great part of the final term here at school.

“We study different aspects of growth and the land in the run up to it and the children are very excited when the moment comes to start trying to grow the heaviest crop of potatoes.

“It gives them a great sense of responsibility as well as a chance to learn so much – we’re so pleased the Newport Show want to include local pupils in this way.”

The show will also feature entertainment for all the family including displays by Bolddog Lings freestyle motocross display team and the Mountain Bike Aerial Display (M.A.D.) team, as well as camel racing, hundreds of trade stands and 140 cattle and sheep classes, livestock, horses and dogs – including qualifying events for both the Horse of the Year Show and Crufts.

There is also vintage vehicle and machinery displays, an antique and country living marquee, handicraft and horticulture competitions, fairground rides and the Festival of Food area which features demonstrations, masterclasses and the best of regional food and drink.

In early evening a festival atmosphere is created with live music from local bands.

Tickets can be bought online at www.newportshow.co.uk or reduced price late entry tickets can be bought at the pedestrian gate from 4pm.

To keep up to date with show news, like the Newport Show Facebook page or follow @NewportShow on Twitter.

Picture caption: Christobel Cousins, headteacher at Lilleshall School, Robert Watson Jones, Chairman of Trustees at Newport & District Agricultural Society, and Sally Western, Show Manager for Newport Show with children from the school