NEWS IN DETAIL...
Record Numbers at Stoke Summer Festival
Over 6,000 visitors flocked through the gates of Duchy College Stoke Climsland during its annual Open Days and Summer Food Festival on 23rd and 24th June.
It was a fun-filled free day out for the whole family with a plethora of things to see and do. Visitors had the opportunity to take part in countryside and sports activities, find out about the College's courses and enjoy the Summer Food Festival, playing host to over 50 food and drink exhibitors from all over the South West!
Visitors enjoyed an abundance of things to see and do for the very young to the young at heart, from digger driving challenges, vintage tractors, equine displays, reptile encounters and cheese making to archery, climbing, PGA golf tuition, forest school and much more.
Mathew Litchfield from Saltash who attended with his wife and twin daughters said: “It’s been lovely, the weather’s held off and the girls’ have enjoyed themselves looking at the animals, it was nice to get them out and get some air.”
Richard Long from Stoke Climsland brought his family along on both days: “We’ve been here all weekend as the boys had so much fun they begged us to come back for the second day! They’ve really enjoyed playing in the tractors and the digger and loved watching the horses.”
Jenny Whistler, 9 from Plymouth, said: “It was amazing, I really want to come back again next year. It was great because everything was free which is really good for families!”
Fergus the goat made himself known to visitors, enjoying the attention he was getting as they he wandered around the animal management yard, munching on the campus trees. A new attraction for this year was sheep shearing demonstrations with 30 Cornwall & Devon Long Wool sheep to shear the visitors were engrossed with the speed and precision of the shearers throughout the weekend.
The state-of-the-art golf swing studio proved popular with coaching from the resident PGA Golf Professional Andrew Milton. Using the latest FlightScope technology and swing analysis amateur and pro golfers were able to improve their performance. Also in attendance was Cornwall Golf Partnership promoting ‘Get into Golf’ which aims to develop and increase awareness of the game within the county using their latest golf swing machine.
Joe Pitcher, 10 from Saltash, who had a go at golf, said: “It was really fun, I’ve not played golf before but it’s something I’d like to have a go at again. The first few shots were difficult but it got easier the more I did it.”
Simon Wood from Cornwall Golf Partnership tweeted his thoughts after the event: “Well done to Duchy College on a fantastic Open Weekend. Over 6,000 attended and 700 people tried golf! Over 50 free lessons were given away!”
Visitors were given the opportunity to have a go at Forest School activities, den building and clay bug making within the Childcare department with hundreds of children and parents alike getting involved.
Lucy the Owl was a welcome addition to the College’s countryside team with visitors enjoying holding and tickling her. Jasmine Murfin, 11 from St Keyne near Liskeard, said: “It was great. I’ve held another bird of prey before but not an owl, she’s really pretty.”
The weekend was a dream for enthusiastic foodies, both holidaymakers and locals alike, with over 50 exhibitors from across the South West, food lovers were able to pick up new recipe ideas and hints and tips at the brand new Cornwall College Stage.
The exhibitors boasted fresh delicacies to try and buy, thirst quenching drinks and food fun for the children. Those with an artisan food interest had the chance to try their hand at sausage making and cheese making.
Exhibitors were selling out of produce due to the sheer number of visitors enjoying the array of food and drink on offer.
Exhibitor Sue Wolstenholme from the Cornish Crisp Company said: “Quite a few Duchy College students come to us to do their final projects so it’s lovely to be at the show working together. The organisation of the event has been excellent.”
Lesley Retallack from A House of Cake near Launceston said: “It’s been really good, so many people have said how much they’ve loved it. We do cakemaking but this weekend we’ve also been letting the kids help us decorate cakes and biscuits. It’s nice to do something for the kids. This has been one of the better shows, it’s just been so busy.”
For the first time this year the annual Cornish Cheese Show was hosted by Duchy College. Over 40 cheeses were judged by a panel of experts on Saturday and visitors had the chance to sample the array of tastes entered. Winners were awarded in a number of categories but the overall Champion Cheese was named as the Bosvean cheese, made by Allet Dairy Goats from Truro.
Those interested in finding out about the courses on offer at Duchy College were able to talk to lecturers, tour the specialist facilities and get the advice they need to kick start their future career. The College offers both full and part-time courses, including university courses, in Agriculture, Animal Management, Business, Childcare, Countryside & Conservation, Forest School, Gamekeeping, Equine Studies, Food, Construction Plant, Outdoor Pursuits, Public Services, Sport and Skills for Life.
Andrew Counsell, Head of Duchy College, said: "We are extremely pleased to have hit record numbers this year. So many people stopped me to say how much they were enjoying themselves and were particularly impressed by the inclusion of the food festival which gave visitors a chance to sample some of the South West’s best produce. Some likened us to a mini version of the Royal Cornwall Show which was a pleasure to hear!
“We had a lot of interest in our courses and many left enthused by what the College offers and keen to join us in September. The College is going from strength to strength and this weekend gives visitors the opportunity to see the fantastic range of courses that we have to offer, and also enjoy a great day out."