A GLOBAL audience tuned in to watch the first-ever Great Yorkshire Virtual Show unfold after it was cancelled due to coronavirus.

More than 130,000 people would have flocked to the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate for the three-day event, but instead it went online to celebrate farming, food and the countryside in a different way.

People of all ages and from as far away as Japan and New Zealand went online to watch everyone from farmers and food businesses to rural craftspeople contribute their own video footage.

Headline acts included East Yorkshire-based Atkinson Action Horses, whose stunt rider Ben Atkinson filmed a battle stunts training session with one of his horses, while the stars of The Yorkshire Vet TV show, Peter Wright and Julian Norton featured on video to answer questions from the public.

TV chef Rosemary Shrager and top Yorkshire chef consultant Stephanie Moon braved Zoom for a raw and frenetic barbecue-style cook-off using some of the finest Yorkshire ingredients from Fodder farm shop at the Great Yorkshire Showground. Harrogate’s Stephanie Moon was later declared the winner in a public vote.

Charles Mills, farmer and show director of the Great Yorkshire Show, said: “I am absolutely delighted by, and grateful for the support for our first-ever virtual show.

“While it was always clear that we could not replicate the Great Yorkshire Show as everyone knows and loves, I hope that everyone who tuned in found something to smile about, something that entertained them and hopefully they learned something new about farming, food and the countryside.

“We are incredibly proud of how supporters of the show of all ages and from across the county went to such great efforts to help us celebrate the show.

“Their contributions allowed us to seize the stage normally afforded to us by show week to shine the spotlight on so many aspects of agriculture and food production.

“One important thing I do hope the virtual show has achieved is to have helped lift people’s spirits during what has been a tough time. I’m now looking forward to next year when we look forward to welcoming everybody back to the Great Yorkshire Show.”

In an exclusive video address to the show, Defra Secretary of State George Eustice told of his hopes for a greater appreciation of farming.

Mr Eustice said: “As we come out of this virus, I think there will be an increased appreciation of the importance of food production in this country and the value of our key workers working in the food sector.”

The Great Yorkshire Show will be held next year,from Tuesday, July 13 to Thursday, July 15, 2021.