Pioneer of the Welsh meat industry to open this year's Royal Welsh Winter Fair

Reporter:

Barry Hancock

WITH just a few days to go until the showground in Llanelwedd is full of visitors, exhibitors and superb livestock, preparations for the annual Royal Welsh Winter Fair are coming together well.

This year’s Winter Fair will be held on Monday and Tuesday, November 27 and 28.

First staged in 1990 and originally just a modest one-day event, the Royal Welsh Winter Fair is now widely referred to as the finest prime stock show in Europe and has become well established as one of the most popular attractions on the British agricultural show calendar.

With over 1,300 cattle, sheep, pigs and horses as well as over 180 entries in the lamb carcass classes and over £25,000 in prize money on offer, the stakes are set for a great couple of day’s worth of competitions.

This year’s event will be officially opened by Oriel Jones, with the help of his grandson, Shaun Jones.

Having been born in Llangeithio in 1930, Oriel spent his early childhood in London, returning to his uncle Jac’s farm in Llanybydder when war broke out. It is here that his interest in butchery and farming began.

At the age of 21, Oriel began his own meat round and started livestock dealing. He then bought a small holding at the edge of the village, where he began slaughtering animals in the old barn, supplying local butcher shops. It then progressed to supplying Smithfield market, London with the finest Welsh produce.

In 1978 a new purpose built abattoir was completed and an export licence granted 10 years later. By the late 1980s the plant was processing in excess of 5,000 lambs per day. In 2001 Oriel Jones & Son was purchased by Dunbia.

However, Oriel has remained at the forefront of Welsh agriculture and is proud to be part of such a prestigious industry, holding positions such as chairman of the Federation of Fresh Meat Wholesalers, chairman of Carmarthenshire District Council, Fellow of the Council for Awards of Royal Agricultural Societies. Oriel has also been awarded with an MBE for his services to agriculture.

The opening ceremony will be held upstairs in the International Pavilion at 10.30am on Monday, November 27.

Following the official opening will be the presentations of the 2017 John Gittins Memorial Award, the RWAS 2017 Oxford Farming Conference Bursary, the 2017 RWAS/Nuffield Farming Scholarship Award and the Children’s Art and Design Competition (the winner of the 2017 Christmas card design).

Along with the usual packed schedule of competitions, classes, exhibitions and displays the two-day event will be packed full of festive celebrations including free late night shopping and a fireworks display on the Monday evening.

Away from the judging rings the very best Welsh food producers showcase their produce and Christmas shoppers will be able to explore hundreds of trade stands, demonstrations, exhibitions and displays.

Buy your e-tickets for the Winter Fair online now.

For more information visit www.rwas.wales

Email:

barry.hancock@nwn.co.uk

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