Woolley Moor Show 1911 - Present

The committee that arranged the first show was made up of members;
Messrs W. Pegge, G. Rhodes Snr, T. Cowlishaw, G. Rhodes Jnr, W. Mottershaw, G. Winson, H. Wood, S. Knowles,J. Flint, A. Winson, C. Bunting, T. Stubbs Snr, T.Bingham and Hon. Sec. G. W. Fox.

After the King George V. Coronation celebrations in the village 13/10d was left over and someone decided ‘Let’s have a show’ and that is how it all began.

The first meeting was called on July 28th 1911. Mr Thomas Bingham was the first Chairperson, Mr. G. W. Fox Hon. Sec., Mr Mottershaw Hon Treasurer., Mr T. Mycock was the first President.It was decided to call the Show ‘The Woolley Moor Vegetable Society’. The show would be open to members who reside in Handley, Woolley and Woolley Moor. Each member of the committee to subscribe 1/- (5p) towards the society.

Facts About The Show

​-  For 37 years (1911 to 1958) the show was held in the grounds of the Old Napoleon public house. This is now covered by Ogston reservoir
​-  Sam Fox, former publican of the New Napoleon served on the show committee for 56 years and was show secretary for 43 of those years
​-  Other long standing members of the show are Keith Broom and Margaret Gill (35 – 40 years service)
​-  Both Show marquees were regularly used by Tupton Hall School through the 70’s and 80’s for their annual camping fortnight to Bridport in Dorset and latterly to Conwy in North Wales

History By Year

The show was once again planned to cover the 2 fields but to make the organisation less onerous on Ian and Liz Cooke a set of teams and team leaders were organised and this worked brilliantly.

The weeks run up to the show had good weather and by Friday, following a week of hard work by the committee and their teams, the show ground was ready. Show day started well, and attendance was good BUT heavy rain showers were forecast…….and they came!!!!! The forecast did have an effect on the number of Classic cars that attended however, the crowds didn’t all disappear, due to the provision of extra cover (marquees/gazeboes) they were able to stay and enjoy the show.

Tom Cassells (the current UK aerobatic champion) provided an amazing aerobatic display, a new children’s entertainer doing magic and balloon modelling was very well received, as were the endearing alpacas and fabulous Hawkeye birds of prey display.

Unfortunately the Friends of School team on car parking duty did get very wet having nowhere to get cover (sorry!) and the standby tractor and hay were needed to help some cars leave the field!!

But despite the weather the show once again proved a successful event.

The village scarecrow theme was ‘Disney’ with winners being ‘Up’, 

The sun shone, the heat was intense – trying to find shade was the order of the day at this year’s show – the hottest day ever!!! The show proved to be an amazing success, the crowds attended and the 2 fields were busy. Over 65 stalls covering various crafts/home produce were booked on the fields. The local Friends of school committee were organised to help with parking and John Ward had organised for straw and standby tractor cover just in case of bad weather (not needed at all this year!!). The Scarecrow theme around the village was ‘King & Queens’.

New attractions for the show included Brackenfield alpacas and Hawkeye falconry who were both so well received that they were booked again for the 2023 show. Steve Carver provided an amazing aerobatic display which proved to be his last for the show as he retired later that year. Due to the amazing weather, and possibly the aftermath of covid (not being able to arrange/visit events for 2 years) this year’s show was the most successful ever (to date).

Arrangements for the show were in full swing then COVID 19 hit!

At the time of lockdown (March) no-one could forsee what was to come and we were hopeful that by August the show would be able to go ahead – how wrong we all were! The worldwide Covid epidemic continued and the shows for both 2020 and 2021 could not be held due to lockdowns and government advice. In 2021 the village did hold a socially distanced village picnic on the planned show day and as a Battle of Britain Military Flight flypast had been applied for (just in case the show could go ahead) we were lucky enough to benefit from this (as the BBMF decided to go ahead with it for us) which was amazing and greatly appreciated by the community.

Chairperson – Ian Cooke,

Treasurer – John Ward,

Secretary – Liz Cooke (Show Produce Secretary – Jill Fox)

Members: Bruce Hunter, Kim Hunter, Ben Cooke, Hannah Cooke, Karl Goodlad, Chris Goodlad, Brian Towndrow, Katrina Towndrow, Andrew Buckley, Sally Buckley, Joshua Buckley, Olivia Buckley, Ernest Fox, Keith Broom, James Whitworth, David Birkill, Roger Worthy, Lesley Armstrong, Wayne Sanderson, Emma Sanderson, Connor Sanderson, Michael Tannert, Sheila Tannert, Dave Lang, Sue Lang, Rob Low, Jo Low, Kelly Broadhead, John Broadhead, Richard Preece, Russ Hind, Rob Horton, Phillip Davies, Danni, Jonny Hughes, Karen Hughes, Sian Hughes, Keith Buckley, Adam Buckley, James Maxwell, Joanne Maxwell, Karen Kirk, John Kirk.

A most eventful and memorable show day!!! The committee decided that due to success and demand the 108th Woolley Moor Show would expand over two fields (John and Ian Ward kindly offering the use of their adjacent field). Plans were made – a challenge in itself!

Extensive advertising began on our Facebook page and new show website devised by Adam Buckley and Rob Lowe with (for the first time) online booking for stalls and classic cars.

A new gate was fitted in the wall between the two fields. The field layout included 80 pitches, 60 classic cars plus 40 tractors and static steam engines (the previous year we had 33 pitches, 38 classic cars and 30 tractors/static steam engines) and by July all pitches were booked!

The week before saw marquees erected, arena, classic car, tractors and stallholder pitches marked out then the rain came!! The night before as the car park was flooded, the field had streams running through it and the rain still falling a decision had to be made… do we go ahead or do we cancel the show!!

It was decided to go ahead BUT no vehicles could be allowed on the field. This meant that the Classic Cars so well organized by Jon Hughes would have to be canceled. Stallholders would be offered the choice of attending on the basis of pulling onto the car park, unloading and transporting wares (with the help of committee members) to a pitch then immediately removing their vehicle to the general car park.

There followed a busy evening of contacting stallholders and classic car owners via phone, email, Facebook, and Website notifications in the hopes we could inform everyone of our decision.

Show day dawned on a very boggy field but John Ward delivered loads of hay which was spread over the field, committee members physically picked up the craft marquee and carried it up the field to a drier area.

30 Stallholders arrived and the mammoth task of unloading and setting up began.

New walkie-talkies proved invaluable.

The NAFAS flower demo, Birds of Prey demo, display by World Record Football Freestyler Dan Magness, and Taekwondo demonstration all went ahead and were very well received also the new Gin & Prosecco Bar proved popular.

Unfortunately, the planned Rockbox and Dog Agility displays could not go ahead due to the weather conditions.

Despite the weather and the many last-minute changes, it proved to be a delightful, successful but tiring day culminating in a fantastic firework display by Will Marriott.               

The themed scarecrow competition (Villains) saw 14 entries and the winners were ‘The Childcatcher’ from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, ‘Darth Vader’ from Star Wars, and ‘Dracula’.

The show took on several new ideas this year. The setting up of the show began on Sunday before and every evening of that week (quite a profitable week for the local pub!!).

John Ward cut the field with his sit-on lawnmower and all the committee erected marquees, and gazebos and marked out arena, stall and car/tractor areas.

The day dawned to reasonable weather, crowds gathered, and at 1.10 pm a loud rumbling sound could be heard, the unmistakeable roar of a merlin engine, and with union jack flags waving and the crowd cheering the Lancaster appeared directly above the treetops and houses – it was so low you could see the pilot!

Steve Carver followed shortly afterward performing another magnificent display of aerobatics. New to the arena and celebrating 100 years of the RAF, 100 years since the end of WW1 and 75 years since the Lancaster’s bouncing bomb feat of WW2 were ‘Kelly’s have a go Heroes’.

A group of ladies from the committee led by Kelly Broadhead (Sally Buckley, Kim Hunter, Karen Hughes, Emma Sanderson and Liz Cooke) dressed in RAF uniform they performed several songs from the war years and were so well received they performed again later in the afternoon and were even approached for a further booking by Ashover WI !!

This year saw Bingo return to the show! – not the game but a 5ft fluffy grey rabbit which raised £60 to guess its name – which was BINGO! We also had a new ‘Silent Auction’ stall which proved to be very successful.

The new ‘Molhusk Inn’ built by Andrew Buckley (Mole) and Jonny Hughes (Husky) enjoyed a very successful day in its new position on the pavilion veranda and the additional seating/table area provided for the bar was very well received.

Due to extra demand for food, a new BBQ stall (specializing in jumbo hot dogs!) was run by Karl Goodlad and Wayne Sanderson this year. The field was as full as it could be with over 30 stalls of various types and a craft tent.

The highly polished classic cars and tractors were a great attraction glistening in the sun and a certain retired RAF officer, Keith Broom, looking resplendent in his uniform kept order! Once again Show day ended with a spectacular firework display run by Will Marriot and Galaxy Fireworks. The most successful show to date! The scarecrow theme this year was ‘TV Characters’.         

This year, Sunday November 11th, saw the 100th anniversary of the end of the 1st World War, and to mark this occasion 1000 Beacons of Light would be lit at 7 pm throughout the United Kingdom. The Beacons would symbolize the 'light of hope' that emerged from the darkness of war. The show committee was approached by Stretton Parish Council and asked if we could organize something.

A very moving community bonfire and firework display were arranged. Kellys Heroes donned their WRAF uniforms once again and performed war poems and songs along with visiting pipers. Bishop Colin Seeds introduced the event and the evening ended with an absolutely amazing and very moving firework display choreographed to war music. The best firework display ever seen at Woolley Moor!!

New storage shed extensions were completed this year. The week preceding the show was very wet, in fact, Bakewell Show was a washout and declared bankrupt!!

The grass on the field was very long – we had to get our own lawnmowers out to cut the field and pray for sunshine! The Scarecrow theme was ‘Occupations’. Luckily the sun shone on the day and the purchase of 2 new marquees provided shelter in case of showers.

A new plan for the field for stallholders/visitors proved successful. The Lancaster and Spitfire flypast was a very proud and emotional sight (flying in such close formation) to the music of the 633 squadron amidst the crowd of waving union jack flags – magic!

This was followed by local pilot Steve Carver in his Extra 260 providing a spectacular and highly skilled aerobatic display. The evening (or after-show party!) was a far more relaxed event this year with no organizing, setting up, or running of anything necessary from committee members.

It was left to the Pyrotechnic team of Will and his amazing firework display linked to his own sound system.

A fantastic finale to a hugely successful day!

The scarecrow theme this year was Disney characters and it was due to the scarecrows catching the eye of a local radio presenter that we were contacted and asked to provide a live interview about the village show on Radio Derby. Local lad Cameron Ward who worked as a presenter on BBC Radio Jersey went to the studios at Derby and gave a very entertaining and informative 10-minute report on the show, its history and locality.

New to this year’s show was the Craft tent which proved very popular. We hired a marquee, tables, and chairs and housed 14 varied local craft stalls. Bruce’s pizza oven was also a new addition to the show. 

We also discovered this year that our own large marquee had a broken pole and was suffering from woodworm!!! Thanks to a combination of talents and resources from Bruce Hunter, Andrew Buckley, and great teamwork the pole (and the day!) were saved.

Once again, the main attraction was the Spitfire flypast and the aerobatic display by Steve Carver. An added/unplanned addition was the Matlock Fire engine arriving on blue lights having responded to a plane coming down over Woolley Moor!!!

This, despite the fact that the emergency services were informed of the aerobatic display going ahead!!

The evening ended with a barn dance and the most amazing firework display (organized by Will Marriott) Woolley Moor has ever seen.

This year saw the new inflatable football shooting game and a revived coconut shy, both were continually busy along with the hog roast, teas, bar and crepes stalls. The star attraction once again was the fantastic aerobatic display.

The Spitfire flew low overhead on 3 occasions to commemorate 70 years since VE Day and 75 years since the Battle of Britain followed by Steve Carver flying aerobatics in his Extra 260 plane.

The first prize in the raffle was an overnight stay in the new luxury holiday apartments adjacent to the Show field and kindly donated by Dave & Mel of the White Horse. An evening Barn Dance with the Pigs Ear Band ended a most enjoyable day.

The village scarecrow competition had a theme of pop/rock stars where our very own ‘Village People’ made an appearance - Fireman (Ian Cooke), Carpenter (Andrew Buckley), Vicar (Colin Seeds), Carpet fitter (Wayne Sanderson) and Entrepreneur (Bruce Hunter). The winner judged by Stretton Parish Council was Tina Turner.

Special mention was given to the very popular and successful new attraction of belly dancing in the arena which encouraged great crowd participation; the moving flypast of a Hurricane fighter plane, with a 2-minute silence in memory of those who fought in both World Wars on the centenary year of the start of WW1. 

Brian Towndrow and Dave Lang, in particular, were thanked for the History Tent where displays traced the lives of locals who fought in both wars. 

102nd Woolley Moor Show. This year saw a one-off £2000 Community funding granted from Derbyshire County Council. The Trig Aerobatic team (previously known as Pitts Pair) once again provided a 20-minute death-defying, stunt-filled display to the sound of Ashover Brass Band.

Two new attractions this year were the N.A.F.A.S Flower arranging display and a Bird of Prey flying display by the Ashfield Hawking Club. Unfortunately, the impressive eagle failed to return to its owner's calls and whistles and the following morning an eagle was spotted soaring over the show field, local farmer John Ward did count his livestock and fortunately, none had gone missing!

Thankfully it was reported that due to its tracking device, the eagle was reunited with his owner later that day.

Captain Jack’s band entertained in the evening followed by a firework display.

The Scarecrow theme this year was Children’s TV/book characters.

To acknowledge and celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Woolley Moor Show Committee arranged a village afternoon picnic on the Jubilee Playing Fields at 2.00 pm on Sunday, June 3rd.

101st show – New tables and chairs were purchased for this year's show (£1500) and the main marquee was repaired at a cost of £500. A bi-plane aerobatic display, an arena display area featuring dancing dogs, tae-kwon do, Punch & Judy, and performing clowns were organized and new to this year’s show a spectacular falconry display with hunting ferrets by James McKay, the bird trainer of ‘Harry Potter fame.

In the evening a Barn Dance with the Pig’s Ear band, Bucking Bronco, and bar was organized in the marquees together with food, fairground rides, and a firework display to music. The scarecrow theme was ‘The Olympics’.

This year the schedule provides information for 72 classes (an increase of 51 since 1911) and still maintains the added attractions of Ashover Brass Band and Archery. However it is hoped (weather permitting!) that many more visitors will also be able to enjoy the extra attractions including Air Display, Arena activities, Boules Tournament, Stalls, Children’s Entertainment, Fireworks, Bucking Bronco and Evening Bar and Barn Dance that are planned for this ‘special’ celebratory Woolley Moor Show.

Committee members 2010/2011:

Hon. Chairperson – Mr Ian Cooke  Hon. Treasurer – Mr John Ward   Hon. Secretary – Mrs Kim Hunter

Committee: Mr Bruce Hunter, Mrs Liz Cooke, Mr Brian Towndrow, Mr Andrew Buckley, Mr Ernest Fox, Mrs Jill Fox, Mr Keith Broom, Mr James Whitworth, Mr Roger Worthy, Ms Lesley Armstrong, Mr Wayne Punter , Mrs Katie Punter, Mr Wayne Sanderson.

Chairperson – Mr Ian Cooke

Treasurer – Mr John Ward

Secretary – Mrs Kim Hunter

Committee: Mr Bruce Hunter, Mrs Liz Cooke, Mr Brian Towndrow, Mr Andrew Buckley, Mr Ernest Fox, Mrs Jill Fox, Mr Keith Broom, Mr James Whitworth, Mr Roger Worthy, Ms Lesley Armstrong, Mr Wayne Punter , Mrs Katie Punter, Mr Wayne Sanderson.

Two new trophies were donated to the show one by Mrs Vernie Hughes and one by Mrs Lynne Strain in memory of their husbands (both of whom were committee members) - Mr Bertram Hughes and Mr Colin Strain.

Bruce Hunter, a committee member engineered a ‘Hog Roast’ machine and used it for the first time at the Woolley Show. It proved to be a huge success and has been organised each year since.

The first village ‘Pensioners Christmas Meal’ was organized by the Show Committee at St Marks Church. Over 50 people enjoyed a Christmas meal provided by David Bown of Ashover and entertainment from Robbie Hague and Ashover Choir. This event proved to be a huge success and has been organised each year since (although 2010 had to be cancelled at the last minute due to severe snowfall).

An U9 & U10’s 5 a-side football competition was advertised however only 3 teams participated. Andrew Cooke refereed and John Ward presented the trophy to the winning Grassmoor team.

The old Woolley bus attended the show and took villagers on a nostalgic trip around the village. The Show Committee agreed to change the name to Woolley Moor Show dropping the ‘Vegetable Society’.

The first Auction Evening was organised by Colin Strain and the show committee at the White Horse Inn raising £1070. A Casino Evening and Race night was also organised at the White Horse Inn to raise funds – evening dress was worn. Following these events a cheque to the amount of £250 was donated to Cancer Research.

The only year the show had to be cancelled! Strong winds and rain on the Friday night before the planned show day ripped through and blew down the marquees.

Mrs Mavis Crofts organised a ladies evening consisting of a meal and flower arranging display at St Marks Church to raise funds for the Show.

First car treasure hunt was organised by Colin Strain and Peter Allsop of the committee to raise funds. The winners were Andrew and Sally Buckley.

Sam Fox stood down as Hon. Secretary after 56 years of service on the committee. Roger Whittle acted as Secretary for one year and established the Woolley Moor Show website, later substantially updated to its present format by Brian Towndrow.

A photography class was introduced, organised by Andy and Helen Roberts. The Fox family awarded a Memorial Challenge Trophy for the best exhibit in the photography classes in memory of Annie Fox who sadly passed away during this year.

A storage hut was built on the Jubilee Playing Fields to house the show equipment as the Old Chapel was sold.

The show equipment was moved from the New Napoleon and stored in the Old Methodist Chapel by Ogston (now converted to residential accommodation). Ian Cooke chaired the AGM in the absence of a Chairperson – a title which he still holds to this day!.

The last show to be held at the New Napoleon. After the show Brian Hicklin held a party in the show marquee to celebrate his 40th birthday with friends, family and a ‘special’ guest!

Ernest Fox married Jill who subsequently took over the organisation of show admissions and administration. In later years it became a full family affair with the help of their children Robert and Katy (and latterly Katy’s husband Wayne).

John Ward became Hon. Treasurer at the age of 21 and still retains this position today (37 years on!!).

President – Miss Joan Jackson, Vice Presidents – Mr D. B. Kenning, Miss P. Jackson, Mr J. Nettleship, Mr C. Riley Snr, Mr W. B. Walters, Mr E. Fletcher, Dr D. Hunt, Mr M. H. Kiddy.

Hon Treasurer: Mr S. Waring Hon Secretary: Mr C. G. S. Fox

Hon. Members – Mr E. Wright, Mr M. Bacon, Mr J. Birks, Mr E. Hayes.

Committee Members: Messrs G. Fearn, A. Beardsley, H. S. Marshall, H. Large, F. Buckley, B. C. Hughes, R. Fullaway, A. Waite, C. Churm, P. Waldron, K. Broom, A. Heeley, S. Foster, T. Fretwell, E. P. Waite, G. Payton, A. Bacon, T. Waring, M. Turner and Mrs H. Rhodes, Mrs F. Thompson.

To celebrate the Diamond Jubilee show a special class of 1 flower and 1 vegetable was arranged. The winner of the £3 prize was 86 yr old Mr M. Bacon a lifelong supporter of the show.

A tug-of-war competition was held with 7 teams competing; Winster and Ashover farmers were the eventual winners. The show had a schedule of 60 classes paying out £72.10s.0d in prize money. There were over 400 entries.

The W. Marshall silver Challenge Cup for most points in the floral art classes was donated by Mr Harold Marshall. Mr R. Leah also donated a new trophy in memory of his late wife, this was given for the competitor gaining the most points overall.

In this year the Committee lost one of its great workers in the passing of Mr Edgar Fox who had loaned the field since 1936.

Mr Edgar Fox refused to have fireworks on the field owing to the accidents last year and insurance problems.

The firework display was abandoned after several slight accidents.

Centre staging was made for the new marquee and a second marquee 40ft x 20ft was purchased at a cost of £192.

Centre staging was made for the new marquee and a second marquee 40ft x 20ft was purchased at a cost of £192.

A new marquee measuring 50ft x 20ft was purchased at a cost of £180.7s.6d.

After a lapse of many years a pea and pie supper was arranged at which a cheque for £36.3s.1d was received, representing Woolley Moor’s share of the Stretton War Saving Committee which had been closed.

Mr H. Large and Mr Waring organised a Bingo Stall for the first time. This proved to be very popular.

Mr G.W. Fox who had been secretary since the foundation of the show sadly passed away. Sam Fox became Secretary with Harold Large as Assistant Sec. A pipe organ played at the show and this proved to be very successful.

The show moved to the New Napoleon.

The last show was held at the Old Napoleon due to the development of Ogston Reservoir.

Miss Joan Jackson became President.

Silver forks and trowels were presented to Mr Hayes and Mr Reader in recognition of 34 years faithful service as judges. Mr G. W. Fox was also presented with a silver plaque for 48years service as Hon Sec.

The firework display was abandoned after several slight accidents.

Mr.J. R. Walker donated a Silver Challenge Cup to the show. It was to be awarded to the competitor gaining the most points in the vegetable classes.

The show held its first firework display in the evening attracting a larger than average crowd.

Mr Gordon Fearn, well renowned and respected local farmer first joined the committee.

The Show date was brought forward by 1 week but it was not a success and many people turned up to visit the show the week after!

An archery competition was organised for the first time (this then became an annual event and is still run to the present day).

A raffle for a live pig was introduced. Mr H. Towndrow ran this annual event until 1968. The pigs managed to escape on more than one occasion but were always retrieved safely!

The bottled fruit classes were first introduced.

With help from Mr H. Large the Show bought 2 reconditioned army marquees, one 50ft x 16ft for £27 and one 20ft x 16ft for £10. A baby show was introduced. Mr C. Riley started giving a prize of 1 dozen chrysanthemums.

Mr C. G. S. Fox (Sam) returned from the forces and joined the committee. Sam remained a driving force and active member of the committee for the following 60 years.

Mr George Stubbs and Mr Harold Large joined the Committee. They remained highly respected and active members for well over 50 years.

The Show donated 50% of its profits to the Soldiers Comforts Fund and also funds from a dance to provide Christmas gifts for soldiers.

Sir George Kenning J.P. became President of the Society and Major R.B.Turbutt of Ogston Hall Vice President.

Ryland Works donated a spade to the show.

Entertainments at the show now included a Skittle tournament, Bowling at the Wicket and Clay Pigeon shooting. Funds now stood at £19.8s.8d.

The Headmaster of Handley School, Mr Joseph Atkin donated the first Silver Challenge Cup for the most points gained in the flower classes. The winner was Mr J. Hopkinson of Woodhead.

Classes for entry in the show had now increased from 21 to 31. Children from Handley school were invited for the first time to enter a special class for potatoes grown by the children.

The show moved from Mr Mycock’s field to the football field adjoining the Napoleon (public house sited in Woolley now under Ogston Reservoir). It was held there every year until 1959 and the development of Ogston Reservoir which then saw the village of Woolley flooded and the residents re-housed in Woolley Moor.

The first Tug-of-war was held at the show.

The Handley & Woolley WI first catered for the refreshments and continued to do so for the following 80 years!

The first ‘open’ show was held allowing entrants from outside the Woolley Moor and Handley areas. This encouraged more visitors to the show.

A committee meeting held on June 21st 1919 coincided with the signing of the peace treaty and Mr Angus the Chairperson proposed a toast to the health of King and Country for the Victory achieved.

Ashover Band was hired for the first time at a cost of £1.10s.0d. The Show carried on through the war years of 1914 – 1918 and provided funds to buy Christmas parcels for the 18 soldiers who lived in the area covered by the Show.

The date of the show was moved to the last Saturday in August. A cricket match was organised between the the Show Committee and the Woolley Moor Football team.

The first show was held on September 2nd 1911, in Mr Mycock’s field.

There were 17 classes of vegetables, 1 class of flowers, 1 class of bread and 2 classes for eggs.

The show attracted 108 entries in the vegetable, flowers and egg classes and 26 in the bread baking class. Income from the show totalled £12.7s.2d the total expenditure being £8.1s.2d leaving a profit of £4.6s.0d.

The first Pie Supper for Committee members was held on September 9th 1911.

This was an annual event until 1914 when it was abandoned and the cost of the same was donated to the War Fund.

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