Chris Bamford, Show Manager, Bingley: “Recently I contacted the GCCF office to ask if the show licence for 2007 had been approved. I was told by the committee secretary that if contracts had been signed for the 2007 show it could go ahead but that a licence for future years would not be granted. As arrangements have already been started for the show my understanding is that it will go ahead in 2007. I was told that the licence was not being granted due to the new rules which come out in November 2006 and was quoted Section 2, Rule 3a.
“You will appreciate that the very nature of an exemption show held within an agricultural show is such that the marquee cannot be guaranteed 100% secure. The showground is such that a permanent building, on the showground, is not available to hold the show in. However I have never known a cat escape from the marquee since I became involved with Bingley show back in 1981. Access for all is very good and this year lots of people in wheelchairs and disabled scooters came to see the cats.
“To exhibitors, judges, stewards and the public of Bradford, Bingley, Keighley and surrounding areas the show is a unique institution that is loved by all and renowned for its very friendly atmosphere. It is not our intention to ever progress further than an Exemption show, as everyone likes it just the way it is. ”Every year we get new people exhibiting and they regularly go on to enter other GCCF shows.“
Chris added that if the Executive were not prepared to reconsider their position, then the Bingley Show might have to look elsewhere for its licence:
“If Council will not reconsider their decision the cat section will not cease but hopefully will continue under TICA or FB. This will mean that any new exhibitors will follow the rules of that governing body. Unfortunately in these circumstances I will not be able to be the show manager, as I would deem it to be in conflict with my role as a GCCF judge.
“On behalf of the committee I intend to write to all clubs and ask for their support in trying to get the show to continue after 2007. We will also be asking people to consider signing a petition supporting this, which can be presented to Council.
“I have already received support and comments such as, “This wouldn’t have happened if Roy Barraclough had still been alive”, “Roy and Enid Burrows will be turning in their graves” and “whatever are the GCCF thinking of?” Some of the more explicit comments are not printable as they were very emotional and made on the spur of the moment upon receiving the news.
“One person has rung to say that they understood that I had received a letter of complaint following this year’s show. I would like to state categorically that in my short time as Show Manager I have never received any such letter. I have however received letters of thanks and praise.
“I know many people will be sad and disappointed to read this news but please support us and hopefully we will be having a show at the same venue for the next 50 years giving the public the chance to see some of our wonderful cats.”
Susan Thorpe, Bingley Trophy Manager: “I’ve attended Bingley show for several years now, both as a visitor and exhibitor, and can honestly say that I never have had any cause for concern on the cats’ safety front. If I had, I would certainly not have not shown my cat. Does the GCCF really think I would’ve compromised my Grand Champions’ and Grand Premiers’ safety? Indeed, none of the exhibitors would risk their cats’ health and safety, and the vast majority of them come back year after year, so that indicates quite strongly that nothing is amiss. “
Elizabeth Evans, Cadifee British – regular Bingley Exhibitor: “Bingley has been a popular show for many years - it is part of the local ‘history’ and would be a tremendous loss to the Cat fancy as people see and learn about cats far more at these less stressful venues. Also there are few exemption shows and these are invaluable for the less experienced exhibitor and those who just like the little local experience!
“Regarding safety in ‘marquees’ - cats will be safe wherever if handled correctly with due care and understanding. Having had one of my cats ‘escape’ at the show some years back I can assure all that she was better attended than many at shows in buildings because stewards and show team are more alert and experience in the field - In fact, to steward at such a ‘tent show’ should be a must for all on the scheme as it increases alertness and awareness as well as possibly the better handling of the cats with the few extra distractions not usually encountered at the supposedly ‘normal’ shoe venue - I certainly learnt more about stewarding in one day at Bingley in the days of Mrs. Borrows!
“Hot days can also be accommodated as many will remember the use of large fans on occasion in the marquee in Enid and Roy’s days.
“Usually the atmosphere is great and VERY VERY few cats are distressed - after all today the public are walking around the outside all day, while judging occurs in the central area and opens doors are NOT accessible to any other than the exhibitor and show team.”
Marianne Brett, Blondbella Persians & Exotics – regular Bingley exhibitor: “I have been exhibiting at Bingley every year (apart from when it had to be cancelled) since 1990 and I feel that it would be a great shame if the cat section was not to continue. The Bingley show isn’t just a cat show, it’s a social gathering and a day out, and undoubtedly the friendliest show there is.
“When I first started exhibiting at Bingley the show manager was Enid Burrows, who was not only friendly and caring (I remember one year when she kept insisting I must have a chair to sit on at all times as I was pregnant) but helpful as well - she taught me a lot about how to groom Persians and encouraged me -at the time I was only a beginner.
“When Enid died Roy Barraclough took over, and who can forget his larger than life persona and dry humour - being greeted upon arrival to Bingley by Roy instantly brightened the day even if it was raining. Then Roy passed away as well and Chris Bamford took over and she has done a sterling job, keeping all the old Bingley traditions: friendliness, helpfulness, encouraging newcomers, and lots and lots of special prizes on offer. (Although nothing beat the year when Enid was in charge and one of my cats received a pair of lacy knickers as a special!)
“Due to problems with PKD and having to essentially start my breeding program all over again, I have been absent from most cat shows for a few years now. However I have still attended Bingley each year, as I simply could not bear to miss it - one of the best days out of the year. Even if I had nothing really worthwhile to show I’d at least enter a non-ped. It is also one day of the year that all three of my children look forward to for months in advance. Please let it continue!”
David Johnson, Akdamar Turkish Vans and Bingley exhibitor: “I have read, with muffled dismay the decision by the ‘powers that be’ to discontinue the licence for the cat section at the Bingley, there will be short pause, not paws as I nip down to speak with Roy at the garden of rest and I am sure that his comments will not be printable so here are a few of mine.
“Question: How many cats have escaped and ‘run wild’ over the last fifty years at the Bingley?
Reason: the cat section at the Bingley has the best-organised ‘security’ at any cat show in the country.
“Question: How many cats have escaped at “secure” cat show halls?
“Question: How many people able bodied or otherwise have been unable or hampered even to gain access to the Bingley cat marquee?
Reason: Foresight, there are people there to assist anyone who needs it from beginning to end.
“Question: How many of the so-called powers-that-be have actually been to the Bingley?
Answer: Oh dear, no one seems to know but they are ready to call time on the best, yes folks the best one day agricultural all comers cat show in the country, and would you believe they have the best cats in the whole country there? Oh yes they do, just ask Akdamar Bazisey Mahsus and his pals, they have all been there more than once and had a grand time.”
Brian Doyle, Ex-Editor OUR CATS, CATS and Fur & Feather: “It seems strange to me that the GCCF has granted an Exemption Licence to the Bingley for some 30 years, during which time the style of the show has not varied, and some very knowledgeable and influential judges have officiated at it. Plus Roy Barraclough was a long-standing member of the Executive, as was Arthur in his day - WHY NOW? They have accepted their fees over the years without any qualms.
“Shows like Bingley are, and have been, the stepping stones for new exhibitors, perhaps with Non Pedigrees, who get the initial interest and progress on to greater things in the Fancy.
The likes of the Bingley also help in giving the general public an opportunity to see some of the beautiful pedigree cats on display and so develop a greater understanding and love for the cat.
“It would be a great pity if the Bingley should disappear and, more importantly, an even greater insult to those hard-working people who have given of their time and effort to produce the show. Not forgetting the slur on the judgement and reputation of the many high-level judges who have officiated at the show in the past.”