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Forestry a tree-mendous hit at the Great Yorkshire Show

Chainsaw sculptor Mark Bell from Selby.  TJ100436a Picture by Tony Johnson

Chainsaw sculptor Mark Bell from Selby. TJ100436a Picture by Tony Johnson

 

One particularly interesting aspect of the 2014 Great Yorkshire Show that attracted a lot of attention was the forestry section.

Throughout the day different displays were hosted in the area, in front of large crowds gathered to see the spectacle.

And the Countess of Wessex herself made an appearance, taking to the microphone to count down the start of a very special pole climbing contest.

George Tipping, who is 81-years-old, challenged his 17-year-old grandson Dan Wheelan to the climb and both made it up the 80ft poles from the Dawnay estates in less than 30 seconds.

Mr Tipping started climbing at 65 and has raised more than £40,000 for Marie Curie Cancer Care through his titan efforts, and his grandson is currently studying arboriculture and training to become a tree surgeon.

While visiting the forestry section, the Countess was presented with two sticks for her children Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn.

Michael Bray, vice president of the British Stickmakers’ Guild, presented them to the Countess on behalf of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society.

Mr Bray, who is from Holmfirth, said: “I think she appreciated what I said to her and I showed her what was what.

“You can’t do any more than that in the time you’ve got with them.”

There were, however, other attractions drawing the passing crowds at the section, including displays by a horse-driver who had trained her horse to carry logs around the site, and competitions between tree surgeons who challenged each other to carve the perfect cut in a felled log.

A particular favourite was the tree carving, and this year’s carver is an old hand.

Mark Bell, from Selby, said: “I have been in the industry since 1983 but I have only been carving professionally for the past 14 years.

“I have been coming to the show since 2001. I love it, it’s like my holiday.

“I like to carve birds of prey. I fly them at home so I’m looking at them all the time.

“When I first started it used to terrify me but you do it so much you become oblivious.”

Mr Bell brought the screen covering his work close to the audience to give them a closer look at his technique, and this, he said, has added benefits.

“You can work closer to the public by having a screen and you can’t really appreciate it from far away,” he said.

“And you know what it’s like at the Yorkshire show, it is bound to rain some time, so under there I will be all right.

“There is even a camp bed under the tent and I have got my wood burning stove and a fridge with a few beers in.”

 

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