Star guests at show's 21st birthday

WITH summer upon us, this week we are looking back at Birkenshaw's much-missed annual show that celebrated its 21st anniversary in July 1966 - with very special guests.

Friday, 2nd July 2010, 10:43 am

Just weeks before England's World Cup triumph, the Birkenshaw Show drew crowds of 25,000 to the Brownhill Farm.

Of course, the annual show has long since ended but for one hot July day the village was brought to life by Australian pop group The Seekers.

A report from the Guardian on July 8 said: "The Seekers were the main attraction.

"A massive clamouring throng of autograph hunters besieged them where ever they went on the show grounds."

Singer Judith Durham was on hand to present the show queen, a 15-year-old Heckmondwike Grammar School pupil Judith Holmes, of Littletown, with a sash and crown.

The event was organised by show society president Jack Brown and played host to a myriad of different animal events with judges running the rule over horses, dogs, pigeons and rabbits.

The dog show had added bite when a young bulldog left his owner Mr A Heseltine, of Stocksband Road, Mirfield, with a deep gash which required stitches. The dog went on to win the title of 'best puppy' at the show, showing how times have changed.

Other popular attractions were a 60ft parachute tower where members of the Territorial Army gave the public a chance to simulate a real parachute jump.

The Guardian report said: "The fact that the keenest jumpers were the youngest argues well for the future of the air and space age."

To celebrate its 21st birthday, the organisers ordered a 500lb, double-tiered cake to be made for the occasion. With a suitably farm-themed design, it was divided into 6,370 portions.

Every slice had been eaten by mid-afternoon.