RECORD crowds, record entries and a day which almost defied the weather pundits made the centenary Farndale Show the biggest success in its history.

Secretary Barry Sunley said heavy overnight rain had failed to mar the show: "The ground quickly absorbed it and people flocked to the showground."

By midday, "field full" notices were put up as the main showfield reached capacity and an adjoining field was used where overflow trade stands and a second show-ring were set up, and additional parking was provided to cope with the demand.

Entries in the sheep and cattle classes were the best for years, as they were with many of the livestock classes, said Mr Sunley. Overall, entries at the show were more than 200 up to in excess of 1,400.

However, a heavy shower did hit the show in mid-afternoon but cleared up in time for the gymkhana events.

Among the most popular attractions was an exhibition of memorabilia of shows spanning several decades of the show, which was first held, believe the organisers, in either 1895 or 1896. "It wasn't staged during the two world wars and when the area was hit by foot and mouth disease," explained Mr Sunley.

Another highlight of the show was a display of some 15 birds of prey.

Dennis Featherstone, who has been chairman for 21 years, said the big problem was the show outgrowing its existing fields in the valley at Church Houses. "We have seen many more stalls and classes, and interest generally increasing."

Mr Featherstone, who has been helping with the running of the show for more than 50 years, says people who have left Farndale always return for show day to help. "It's part of a tradition," he said.

He is still farming, mainly beef cattle which he exhibited in the past but now spends so much time running the show both before and on the day that he cannot devote the time needed to groom his cattle.

Farndale's farming scene has seen many changes in recent years, says Mr Featherstone with farms amalgamating and the farmhouses let to people not in the industry and who have often moved into the dale from outside.

The name of the Wilson family has been associated with Farndale Show for most of its 100 years and to honour the connection, Dennis Wilson and his wife, Pearl, were given the honour of being the centenary show presidents.

Mr Wilson, who farms at Cote Hill Farm, said: "The show is as strong as ever with more entries and more classes. It has always been a popular show for sheep classes." His father and grandfather served as secretary for nearly 60 years and Dennis himself has had a lifelong involvement with the show. "We can't expand any further but the show is certainly growing in popularity."