The Border Union Agricultural Society (BUAS) this week launched the one-year countdown to its bicentenary celebrations in 2013 with the announcement that HRH The Countess of Wessex has agreed to be the patron for the year.
The Countess will be involved in a year that is set to see a variety of celebrations showcasing the role of BUAS in the past, present and future of agriculture and rural affairs in the Scottish Borders and North Northumberland, plans for which are already well underway.
The 2013 celebrations will culminate in the 200th Border Union Show on July 26-27.
In addition to the show’s line-up of competitions, activities and displays, the bicentenary event will include a Food Fair featuring some of the UK’s top chefs including Albert Roux and Andrew Fairlie, a celebration of the region’s wool heritage and a showcase of old and new methods of crop production.
The indigenous breeds of the UK will be celebrated in a special cattle show involving as many breeds as possible and an exhibition showcasing the importance of the major rivers of the Borders will also feature.
Education will be a key component of the bicentenary celebrations with schools and further education colleges encouraged to participate. A series of bursaries will be set up for young people working in the rural economies of the Scottish Borders and North Northumberland.
Gareth Baird, Chairman of the BUAS Bicentenary Committee, said: “We are delighted that HRH The Countess of Wessex has agreed to be our Bicentenary Patron. We have a busy year ahead making plans for the 2013 celebrations which will not only mark past contributions of the agricultural industry on both sides of the Border but which also look forward to the future and show the continued importance of expertise, innovation and vision in all aspects of the rural economy.
“We want to make the bicentenary a true Borders-wide occasion involving people from right across the region and paying fitting tribute to our area’s important agricultural heritage.”
The BUAS was formed in Kelso on January 22, 1813 when local dignitaries and farming lairds met at the town’s Cross Keys Hotel. It had several aims; to encourage excellence on stock breeding; to promote discoveries in arable farming and to encourage the development of new and improved agricultural implements.
The Society now has over 1,000 members from both rural and urban backgrounds and has its home at Springwood Park in Kelso, a 46-acre parkland next to the rivers Tweed and Teviot which it bought in 1953 and which is now home to over 100 events each year including the Border Union Show, the Championship Dog Show and the Kelso Ram Sales, all of which bring valuable revenue to the town and surrounding area.
For more information on the Border Union Agricultural Society, including links to the special Bicentenary Facebook page (BUAS 200), visit www.buas.org