Year in Review: Jayne Southall – An incredibly busy year with more planned for 2019

It’s a really nice time to write this column as we come to the end of the year and have chance to reflect on what a whirlwind 2018 has been. It’s been an incredibly busy one both for the Showground and the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society.

At the Showground, we’ve hosted well over 250 events during the year and we’ve also taken hundreds of enquiries – for dates right up until 2030! Of course it was a real highlight to welcome Lionel Richie, Anastacia, Little Mix, Raksu and Germain Sisters over two dates in the summer and we look forward to bringing more concerts to the city in the coming years.

The Lincolnshire Show was themed around commemorating and celebrating RAF100.

Our loyal exhibitors did a fantastic job of engaging with the theme and it was a pleasure to welcome a number of veterans to join us. Entertainment highlights included the RAF Falcons who landed in the Main Ring on Thursday.

We had performances from vintage singers, lindy hop dancers and the Red Arrows even came to the Show to meet with fans! We had one of our busiest years in terms of visitor numbers for quite some time and a themed Show has helped to give us lots of inspiration for next year.

On the same theme, we worked alongside our Charity of the Year, the Jon Egging Trust, to host ‘An Audience With… The RAF Typhoon Display team’. The event raised over £1,200 which will allow 40 young people to attend inspirational sessions with the Trust.

Helping young people to learn all about food, farming and the environment is at the forefront of the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society’s charitable objectives. We’re delighted to announce that our 2018 educational programme reached over 11,500 school age children and we’ve recently welcomed a second role into our education team to help us to continue to grow this.

Some of our annual educational activities include Farmhouse Breakfast Week, the Schools’ Challenge and Lincolnshire Day and in 2019, we’re again working with the NFU, LEAF and Lincolnshire Young Farmers on our ‘Tractors into Schools’ initiative, which in 2016 saw over 50 tractors visit playgrounds across the county!

2019 is going to be very special for us as the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society celebrates its 150th year. We’re starting the year with a celebratory Farmers Lunch for our Members on January 7 and we’ve already got some exciting attractions lined up for the 135th Lincolnshire Show.

Keep an eye out in the New Year for more details! It’ll also be 60 years since the Show began being held at the Showground after travelling the county for a number of years before, so even more reason to celebrate – if we needed an excuse!

We can’t forget that the Epic Centre is also celebrating its 10th birthday next year, and we’ll have plenty of exclusive offers to tell you about soon. We have a number of brand new events lined up including the Lincolnshire Cruise & Escorted Tour Show and Call of the Wild Festival, and we’re welcoming back lots of favourites too. Our events calendar is constantly growing and we’re looking forward to welcoming thousands of you to the Showground again in 2019.

Our small team organise a number events including the Lincolnshire Farming Conference, International Women’s Day, Countryside Lincs and Fireworks at the Showground and profits from all of these help us to continue our educational work. Now’s a great opportunity for me to say thank you, on behalf of our team and the charity, for our visitors, exhibitors, supporters and sponsors’ continued support this year.

For my New Year resolution, I’d have to say professionally I’m looking forward to moving forward with our aim of upgrading the Exhibition Hall at the Showground.

This will help us to attract new events and also develop the educational opportunities we can offer as early plans even include a classroom.

And on a personal level (although I say it every year and before I know it, another year has gone by!), I’d like to spend more time with friends and family, and I’d love get out and about for walks in the countryside more often too.