THE finishing touches are being put to the Great Yorkshire Show, which takes place in Harrogate next week.

Organisers are delighted to have received almost 8,500 entries in 25 different sections, ranging from pigs to pigeons, cattle to cheese, and honey to horses.

The Great Yorkshire Cheese and Dairy Show has attracted 310 entries and is the first cheese competition at the event for 40 years.

Christopher Hall, show director, is pleased with the number of entries: "We had feared the figures could have been halved given the current state of the industry," he said. "We are delighted to have the support of so many exhibitors in the competitive classes, sponsors and the number of trade stands. Everything is in place for an excellent three days."

The show runs from Tuesday to Thursday and promises to be an action-packed event.

The Duke of York visits the show on Wednesday. He will view livestock as well as visiting the country pursuits area, the cheese and dairy show and forestry area, where the bid to break the world pole climbing record will be staged.

Among the highlights of the three-day show is the new Fashion and Art Pavilion, which is host to four daily fashion shows, featuring clothes from Marks & Spencer's new autumn/winter collection, and designs from fashion students from Leeds University's newly-formed School of Textiles and Design.

Demonstrations of country skills, the Sainsbury's Country Cookery Theatre, the Shetland pony Grand National, displays by the White Helmets and the Cock o' the North show jumping competition, featuring some of the country's leading show jumpers, provide a broad spectrum of entertainment.

Away from the stock judging, including sheep, the universities exhibition highlights some of the latest developments and covers a wide range of topics.

Newcastle University looks at bugs and slugs and organic options; while York University features new alternative crops for UK farming and Leeds looks at toxoplasma in sheep and ways of minimising post-weaning growth checks in piglets.

Elswhere, Driver Hire Nationwide is visiting the show for the first time, offering part-time or temporary driving work to farmers and farm workers. A national franchise organisation, it has found there is a shortage of qualified professional drivers and believes the agricultural community could be an ideal source.

It believes driving could fit in well with the seasonal nature of farming and offer an extra income. Training can be given