Thousands flock to the Midland Game Fair at Weston Park - with pictures
Shooting and gun dog enthusiasts flocked in their droves to the Midland Game Fair this weekend.
Armed officers and military police mingled with families at the annual event that is held at Weston Park where shooting competitions and displays drew thousands to the two-day extravaganza.
Organised by Countryman Fairs it also featured the finals of the Chudleys Gundog Championship and BASC Clay Shooting competitions with visitors and participants hot-footing it from all over the UK.
Among the more than 700 trade stands included countryside goods, outdoor wear and accessories.
Other attractions included jousting with the Knights of Middle England; dog display team, Essex Dog Display; Ye Olde Redtail Falconry; fun sheep racing with Lamb National; a traditional hound parade.
Live music including folk roots festival; a jazz and blues festival which included a performance by former Argent frontman John Verity on Saturday afternoon. There were zones covering fishing, working dogs; falconry, an airgun show; the gamekeeper’s row; as well as a field sports arena, a food festival and a beer park in a central food court.
Among the most popular activities was the gunmaker’s roadshow featuring shotgun manufacturers and suppliers including Air Arms which has joined forces with British Shooting to showcase a new running and rifle shooting event that may soon become an Olympic sport; inflatables, ferret displays and donkey rides, a dog show with Up N Over & Dog Training Club; rural crafts; clothing and craft businesses.
Many visitors made the most of the weekend by camping in the grounds of the historic mansion including trainee vicar Helen Dawson, of north Wales, who was attending with her husband John, and children Georgia, 17, Ieuan, eight, and Gethin, four.
Mrs Dawson, of Holywell, says: "It's been so much fun. We come every year as its a really good event to come to and we camp as we stay for the two days.
"The boys have been shooting and have had a ride on the little steam train. I have bought some nice flavoured gin to try when I get back to the caravan.
"My husband used to be a gamekeeper and this is a good way to stay in touch with it.
"People who aren't used to this kind of way of life may have an issue with this type of event, but I see it as a kind of stewardship of the countryside.
"The gamekeeper is the balance between the predator and the prey. A perfect example of this is the grouse, if we didn't have the gamekeeper keeping the number of the predators down them there wouldn't be any grouse left and it's about protecting the natural environment."
Katrina Walker, 48, a nanny, was visiting with her husband Graham, 48, a director, from Wolverhampton, and their son James, 12.
"Mrs Walker says: "We have just relocated from Watford and it's my first visit to the game fair. I have really loved it.
"It's great and there is so much to do and weather has been lovely. I've loved the food and tasting all the drinks. It's been a relaxing day in lovely surrounding at Weston Park.
"Our puppy Coco Chanel is only 12 weeks and it's been a good opportunity to get her out socialising with the other dogs. She has really enjoyed it too."
Sue Baker, show manager of Up N Over & Dog Training Club, says: "We ran some agility classes and a dog show for family dogs and for children to get involved in. It's attractive for the families who can bring their own dogs to have a go at the activities we put on. there were nine novelty classes.
"We donate the money we get to dog rescue services.
"We've also been showing the children the best way look after their pets and we've been telling owners about the new law which has come into force for dog walkers to ensure they are carrying at least two plastic bags to clean up after their dogs or face a £100 fine."
Jacquie and Paul Ashton, both 48, from Walsall, were at the show with their daughters Bonnie, 14, and Hope, 11.
Mrs Ashton, a social worker, said: "We first came two years ago and we really enjoyed it. It actually encouraged us to get a dog and some nice wellies. So this time we've brought our new dog Winston with us.
"It's been great for the girls because they're interested in working with animals and we had some good education advice from the lovely folks on North Shropshire College stand."