THE north of England’s largest village show was spruced up for a birthday to remember as it marked its 125th year.

Pedigree livestock and poultry, tractors and traybakes - Skelton Show celebrated in style from the minute it opened its gates to the hordes that descended into the showground in the delightful setting of the Old Park at Hutton-in-the-Forest.

Breeders were busy blow drying cows and primping up poultry as they prepared for the arrival of the judges. Diggers, cherry pickers and ice-cream vans were undergoing a final polish in preparation for the onrush of the crowds, while a small crew were scrubbing down the merry-go-round in the fairground.

“This is a very proud moment for me as I have attended Skelton Show from my childhood days to holding a trade stand here for some 40 years,” said show president, Alan Walton. “It has been great to see the show go from strength to strength, attracting well over 10,000 each year,” he added.

As some well-known tunes from show stalwarts Penrith Town Band drifted across the sun-drenched showground, families took in the sights and sounds.

“I’ve only ever missed one show day,” said mum Rachel Irving from Penrith, “and that was the day I went into labour with my eldest, Chloe, now 10, much to her dad’s disgust.”

“It’s such a lovely show for families,” said Rachel, whose partner, James Mossop was pushing 14-month-old Connie Mossop, who was clamouring to get out of her pushchair.

Cattle and sheep breeders, and horse riders vied for top ribbons and trophies, but it was a beaming show stalwart, Penrith breeder, Neil Slack who took the prestigious Champion of Champions title with his British Blue cross cow, Sparks.

“I’ve won this title twice in the last four years, but it is still special,” said Neil.