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A year in the life of a trophy
This week's guest blogger is Edward Dann, a volunteer at the Society who organises the trophies for the Show each year. Edward takes us through the process from winning a trophy, right through to planning for the next Show.
Hi, my name's Edward and I run the Trophy Office at the Royal County of Berkshire Show with my wife, son and sister-in-law, and we organise everything that involves trophies at the Show in September but also the Ploughing Match, which takes place in October.
Our main role is to provide the trophies for the different sections of the Show that award them to the winners of the various competitions. From livestock to the craft tent and everything in between.
Once all competitions have been judged and the results are confirmed, the winners are presented with their awards; whether it's a cup, shield or some other form of prize. They then visit the Trophy Tent to collect their award. Sometimes people prefer not to take them home during the Show so we look after them on site. But we always note who has won what and take all their details to enable us to contact them later.
To allow us to make the trophies available for the next Show we have to recall all those taken from the previous Show to ensure they are back with us by July so that we can engrave them. When they are returned, we check them for any damage and, unless they need a repair, are sent for engraving. This can be their name, herd, business or animal. All this has to be done by the beginning of September as it is then that we start to assemble all the trophies needed for the Show sections for presentation.
Over 200 trophies are cleaned and polished by the trophy office staff and then lined up on shelves with protective covers. Before the Show opens we will have organised our shelving, documentation, secure storage and display trophies. If anyone wishes to see the trophies being presented we have them laid out on the shelving and on the front display tables.
Some of the trophies are very old, dating back to our first Show in 1909, and are easily recognised by their elaborate designs and size.
On Show days each section are given their required trophies which are boxed up with their list. After presentation they are returned to the Trophy tent ready for us to hand out, all over again, having established the right person is collecting the trophy.
It all sounds simple and easy but in fact problems constantly raise their heads, so that instead of finishing up after the Show with just a few trophies we also have a raft of little problems to work through. But that is what we as volunteers do and, believe it or not, enjoy!
It may take a year to organise and sort but if it was easy and too simple it would be boring. However, when you see all those smiling children and happy adults you feel proud of your own contribution that has made the Show such a wonderful success. Yes, there are frustrations and times when we wonder why we do it but my wife, Vivienne and I have been volunteers for over 20 years and enjoy all that makes the Show what it is. We have run the Bandstand, the Food Fayre and now Trophies and are coming to the end of our volunteering (age is catching up with us). But we still enjoy it and recommend volunteering to anyone who feels they want to be involved in a community-oriented activity that gives pleasure to everyone concerned including themselves.
We look forward to seeing you at the Show in September!