Nina Oxley was elected as the new Chairperson, marking the first time in the show's history that a woman has undertaken this role. With an agricultural background, and a career in marketing, Nina continues to share her wealth of experience having been an active committee member for a number of years.


THE Skelton, Floral, Horticultural and Agricultural Society began in 1880 and except for 10 years of war (1914-18) and (1939-45) when ploughing and hedging competitions were held instead, a show has been scheduled ever since.

The 2001 event was cancelled because of the Foot and Mouth outbreak, and bad weather did the same in 1985, 2004 and more recently 2022.

The show is primarily about animals – the farmer’s shop window. It doesn’t need excessive entertainment as the entertainment is the livestock show.

In 1963 there were 215 cattle (Dairy Shorthorns, Ayshires & Freisans), 97 sheep (Suffolk, Blue-faced Leicester), 110 horses were judged plus 940 entries in the industrial and horticultural sections.

Some 20 years later the same for cattle, 267 sheep (big increase) and 641 horses and 1,245 entries in the marquee.

In 2023, sheep exceeded 670 entries with the more modern breeds of Zwartbles and Dutch Spotted becoming very popular, cattle classes less well attended due to movement restrictions but horses and industrial tent entries still high and en par with previous years.

Over the years the site for the show has moved from the village itself to Unthank Park and then in 1980 to the Old Park, Hutton-in-the-Forest where it has been staged ever since. 50 acres of beautiful parkland are taken over annually from Lord Inglewood’s estate.

Along with the animals, the produce, vegetables, flower displays, paintings, handicrafts, walking sticks there are also 150 field exhibitors and stands (machinery, animal feed, livestock marketeers etc) and one of the biggest vintage tractor and classic car vehicle display in the county – at an agricultural show.

The Skelton Food Hall continues to grow allowing Cumbrian producers to promote and sell their produce. Flamboyant cookery demonstrations also take place with local and notable chefs taking part.

The show was traditionally held on the 3rd Saturday of August but was changed (due to constant rainy weather) to first Saturday in July.

Various attractions have been arranged throughout the years with wrestling introduced in 1908, sheep dog trials in 1910, hound trails in 1912 and in 1913 the horse sports were introduced with a ‘lady stealing on horseback’ class!

Lakeland Country Princess was introduced in 1962. Ten different dances would be held across Cumberland and Westmorland, with two girls chosen at each dance and the visit of all 20 successful contestants came to Skelton Show day. They were paraded around the showground on a wagon and four judges would interview them individually – the winner was picked on her looks and personality! The winner went on to the North West Federation of Show Societies to compete at regional level. This lasted until 1990 ... unsure we could get away with this in today’s modern age?!

The 2024 show promises to be another successful event. New for this year is the Inter Hunt Relay Challenge which promises to be frantic and fun entertainment in the main ring, together with the traditional companion dog show and Cumberland &

Westmorland Style Wrestling classes (including the 10½ stone World Championship class), a great entertainment programme with face painter, stilt walker for the children. The Biking Vikings (invading from the north east) will entertain with their drumming performances, encouraging the children to join in.

Music from 4pm, plus a big screen will show the Euro2024 Quarter Final (could be England) at 5pm with bar open until 7.30pm

Committee members, the judges, stewards, volunteers, farmers, competitors, exhibitors and of course the visitors all play their part in contributing to making this agricultural show a great day out for all the family and ensuring being part of rural life it as important today as back in the nineteenth century when it all began.

Nina Oxley is farm manager’s daughter, growing up on a +1000 acre mixed farm at Denford Ash, Northamptonshire. Always the outdoors girl, helping her father on the farm when she could from an early age...

Learned to ride at seven years and enjoying her own ponies and horses, a keen member of the Fitzwilliam Pony Club and hunt – enjoying gymkhanas, pony club eventing, triathlons and hunting becoming a particular passion.

Following college, became very career orientated,, working for several national and international blue chip companies within the role of marketing for many years. Whilst freelance marketing, was asked to review the H&H company brands, a job which rapidly grew into a full-time role so took the decision (with husband Stuart who works for Carrs Billington) to move up to Cumbria to join the H&H Group as the Group Marketing Manager back in 2012. With its farming connections, it felt like ‘coming home’ to work and haven’t looked back, thoroughly enjoying every working day. Settled in Skelton so through work and friend connections was soon seconded to the show committee, appointed Vice Chairman in 2019 whilst also holding the post of Marketing & Publicity Officer – funnily enough! Have two grown up sons and 3 grandchildren with a fourth soon to join us in July plus three dogs; enjoy walking, pilates and cycling so always plenty going on!

“I feel very humbled and privileged to become the first female Chairperson for Skelton Show since it began in the 1880’s – times may have changed but the ethos of the show remains the same: an agricultural show put on by the local community for the community providing a farming showcase for visitors to enjoy and encompassing everything in the farming world from livestock to machinery and from local food to family fun. Join us on Saturday 6th July for a great family day out!”