THE organisers of one of the North-East's last surviving sheep shows have declared: "We are here to stay."

They have also predicted that the show held at Langdon Beck, Forest-in-Teesdale, County Durham, will become one of the great showcases for the Swaledale breed of sheep.

The show was revived in 2000 after an absence of more than 100 years. But there were grave doubts about its future after it had to be cancelled the following year due to the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

Hundreds of farmers, their families and visitors attended this year's show at the weekend, repaying the faith that officials and the Teesdale community have in its future.

"It's gone better than we could ever have dreamed of," said Neville Bainbridge, the show's chairman and one of its founders. "We are now well on the way to becoming one of the best Swaledale shows in the country. There are entries here today from as far afield as Cumbria, Yorkshire and Northumberland.

"It shows what you can achieve when a whole community pulls together."

His words were echoed by landowner Lord Barnard, who donated £200 to the winner of the supreme championship.

He said: "I am very pleased to see this show carrying on. It is well on the way to becoming a wonderful showcase for the Swaledale breed."

North Yorkshire farmers G Harker and Son, from Arkengarthdale, picked up six trophies, including the Brian Bainbridge Perpetual Cup for supreme champion. It was the first time they had competed at the show.

It was also the first time classes for flowers, vegetables and local produce were introduced.

Trophy winners

Cockram Cup for open aged tup G Harker and Son, Arkengarthdale; Mark Armitage Memorial Trophy for open ewe A and J Harrison, Ettersgill; Harris Cup for open gimmer shearling M and A M Wilson, Lunedale; C W Brazeball Tankard for open tup lamb M and A M Wilson; Farmers Finance Tray for open gimmer lamb R Hutchinson and Sons, Spittal; Roland Maddison Memorial Trophy for open pair gimmer lambs R Hutchinson and Sons.

Middle Forge Cup for open pair male and female G Harker and Son; Farmers Finance Tankard for local aged tup M Watson, Harwood-in-Teesdale; McDougal Brothers Tankard for local ewe D Dargue and Son, Ettersgill; David Featherstone Cup for local tup shearling M E and C M Bell, Forest-in-Teesdale; Rough Rigg Cup for local gimmer shearling A and J Harrison; J Tully and Sons Cup for local tup lamb J R Bainbridge, Forest-in-Teesdale; R I Scott and Sons Cup for local gimmer lamb, A and J Harrison; High Force Centre Cup for local pair of gimmer lambs J R Bainbridge; Trevor Hutchinson Hay Shield M Watson; Beck Head Trophy for most points in open classes G Harker and Son; Westernhope Rose Bowl for most points in local classes M E and C M Bell;

Young Handler Shield Emily Sartin, Lartington. Peter Oughtred Birkdale Memorial Plate for open male champion G Harker and Son; Adrian Bell Livestock Scanning Cup for open female champion G Harker and Son; Penrith Farmers and Kidds Cup for open champion sheep G Harker and Son; Middleton Auction Mart Cup for local male champion M Watson; Middleton Auction Mart Cup for local female champion A and J Harrison; Langdon Beck Cup for local champion sheep A and J Harrison; Brian Bainbridge Perpetual Cup for supreme champion G Harker and Son.

Hudegate Farm Trophy for most points in flowers and produce Sid Horne, Forest-in-Teesdale; Robert Oliver Perpetual Cup for most points in flowers and produce Mary Wilson, Lunedale.